Less than two weeks after raising a fresh round of $25 million, FullContact has opened its checkbook to snap up India-based startup Profoundis in an undisclosed deal.
Denver-based FullContact is focused on helping you manage relationships and contacts in a more orderly and intelligent fashion. The company said its newest raise would be used to fund acquisitions, although we didn’t expect one to come around quite so quickly. The decision to buy Profoundis is also notable for shining light on the fledging startup scene in Kerala, the Southern state in India that is better known for tourism, greenery and beaches than tech. (That’s not dissimilar to FullContact, which itself is not based in Silicon Valley.)
Profoundis began operations in 2012, although its founding team of four had worked unofficially together prior to that date. The company offers an intelligence service — called Vibe — that sits in your email account and surfaces information about your contacts, in much the same style as Rapportive, the plug-in that LinkedIn acquired back in 2012.
The deal will see FullContact take on all of Profoundis’ 70 staff, “most” of whom will remain at the Indian company’s base in Kochi, Kerala. Beyond integrating Vibe into FullContact’s other services, the Profoundis team will work on bringing their “human-based data research” to other parts of FullContact’s business.
That’s important given that LinkedIn, the giant in the contact management space, is close to completing a $26.2 billion acquisition from Microsoft. That union is sure to see LinkedIn lean on its parents considerable assets, particularly in the enterprise space, meaning that smaller rivals like FullContact will need to focus on differentiation to avoid being bulldozed by a revitalized LinkedIn.
This deal certainly suggests that technology is an area that FullContact is focusing on to help stand apart from LinkedIn.
The two companies had been partners for one year prior to this deal, but FullContact co-founder and CEO Bart Lorang told TechCrunch that there are grander plans for India.
“There are a lot of different types of work we can do,” he said in a phone interview. “We plan to use [Profoundis’] technology-enhanced human data research solutions to build products and services that are dramatically smarter than anything the market has seen before.”
He added that Profoundis will become FullContact’s India HQ and “scale to many thousands of staff over the next few years.”
That will involve going beyond engineering talent to bring in employees in customer support, localization and other business teams in India.
“Becoming part of the FullContact team allows us to further execute on our mission globally, and together, our users will benefit by having more detailed information about their contacts, allowing them to be even more awesome with people,” added Profoundis CEO and co-founderArjun Pillai via a blog post.
Pillai said Vibe will live on after the acquisition, after which it will “integrate directly inside of the FullContact ecosystem.”
Profoundis was part of Startup Chile and graduated the Microsoft Accelerator Program in Bangalore in 2013. It then went on to raise an undisclosed seed round one year later. FullContact, meanwhile, has raised close to $45 million from investors, which include Foundry Group, Baird Capital, Shea Ventures and Blue Note, and made four other acquisitions to date.
Speaking earlier this month after closing the latest $25 million round, Lorang hinted at impending M&A activity.
“I see a lot of distressed startups out there in our wider field unable to raise more money for sure,” he told TechCrunch.
We had assumed that would predominantly be U.S.-based deals, but Lorang told me today that he has looked at potential acquisitions in other parts of Asia, including Hong Kong and Singapore. Such moves could help grow the company’s reach and provide it more localized expertise for navigating communication culture, regulations and more worldwide, he explained.
“We see an opportunity for what we’re doing [worldwide] and we’re taking it,” he added.