GShift announced the all-stock deal in a statement Monday, but declined to place any value on the transaction or say what proportion of the enlarged company will be held by InNetwork shareholders.
GShift was founded in 2009 by Krista LaRiviere and Chris Adams to enhance search engine optimization through big data and predictive analytics. It has now chosen to merge with InNetwork, which uses a network of influencers to help clients amplify their marketing efforts.
“The marketing tech stack is ripe for consolidation as customers are demanding single sign on platforms with integrated functionality,” said InNetwork CEO and Founder Chris Keevill in an email Monday night. “With gShift, together we begin to line up the integrated content marketing functionality of what we are calling Content Performance Cloud.”
Keevill will join the board at gShift and stay on with the enlarged company for a period of time to ensure a smooth transition.
With offices in Halifax and Toronto, InNetwork vets and approves influencers to ensure that they are bona fide opinion leaders. It then uses this network of influencers to help clients with their marketing.
It beta-tested the product with about six Canadian customers in 2014 and has since been working with many more paying customers.
In 2013, InNetwork received seed funding of $250,000 from Innovacorp and $240,000 from a group of angels led by East Valley Ventures Chair Gerry Pond, who became chair of the board. InNetwork had been trying to raise money through Brightspark Ventures of Toronto since last summer, but Keevill said the team “paused the Brightspark round as we got closer to closing this transaction.”
GShift announced the transaction at the MarTech Conference in San Francisco. It said the integration of the two companies’ platforms provides digital agencies and brands with a unique marketing technology suite for planning, optimizing, amplifying and reporting on content marketing strategies and investments.
“Acquiring InNetwork and adding influencer identification and management to gShift’s existing suite of software strengthens the entire content campaign process and helps marketers get their message to target audiences,” said CEO LaRiviere in the statement.
It is the second major transaction in a year for Keevill, who is best known as the CEO of the Halifax marketing firm Colour. Last July, Colour was acquired by the CHR Group, a New York-based network of creative communications agencies, for an undisclosed sum. The deal was designed to help the agency spread into the U.S.