Episerver’s Bold New Move Shakes Up Online Commerce

Creating digital experiences that appeal to consumers and increase online commerce has been crucial for marketing and sales in recent years. This trend has accelerated even further with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has driven more businesses than ever before to the digital sphere.

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The acquisition of the San Francisco experimentation and optimization platform, Optimizely by Episerver, the New Hampshire-based customer-centric digital experience platform, is the latest announcement to shake the ecommerce sector. Episerver, which was acquired by Insight Partners in 2018 for $1.16 billion, did not disclose the purchase price of Optimizely. Subject to customary closing conditions and attaining regulatory clearances, the acquisition is expected to close in Q4 of 2020. Until then, the companies will continue to operate independently.

The acquisition provides Episerver a significant extension of testing capabilities across digital channels. For Optimizely, the buyout positions it within a broader portfolio of capabilities aimed at optimizing digital properties while improving and tailoring customer experiences.

In a statement, Optimizely Chief Executive Officer Jay Larson said that the union of the two companies, "will make experimentation a mainstream business best practice and an essential part of competing and winning customers in an online world."

Alex Atzberger, Episerver’s Chief Executive Officer also called the Optimizely purchase "the most significant transformation in [the] company's history— one that will set a new industry standard for digital experience platforms."

Founded in 2009, Optimizely is backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark, and Index Ventures. Its last raised venture capital was its $50 million Series D funding round in June 2019. This brought the company’s valuation to around $600 million. However, in July the company laid off around 15% of its staff— about 60 people —due to the impact of COVID-19. Today, the company has over 1,000 customers, including Peloton, Nike, and Uber.

For Episerver, this is another in what has becoming a growing list of acquisitions. In 2019, the firm bought Insite Software, a leader in powerful digital commerce solutions, and Idio, an enterprise software company that produces and implements products for brands and publishers.