Optimizely was founded in 2009 by Dan Siroker and Pete Koomen. It became synonymous with A/B testing, subsequently building a broader suite of tools for marketers to experiment with and personalize their websites and apps, with more than 1,000 customers including Gap, StubHub, IBM and The Wall Street Journal.
The company had raised more than $200 million in funding from Goldman Sachs, Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, GV and others. Earlier this year, it laid off 15% of its staff, citing the impact of COVID-19.
Episerver, meanwhile, was founded in Stockholm back in 1994 and offers tools for marketers to manage their digital content. Accel-KKR sold the company to Insight Partners for $1.1 billion in 2018. (Today’s announcement describes Insight as a “strategic advisor and sponsor” in the acquisition.)
In a statement, Episerver CEO Alex Atzberger said this is “the most significant transformation in our company’s history – one that will set a new industry standard for digital experience platforms.” It sounds like the idea is to extend Episerver’s capabilities around content and commerce with Optimizely’s experimentation tools.
“The breakthrough combination of Episerver and Optimizely will transform digital experience creation and optimization, enabling digital teams to replace guesswork with evidence-based outcomes,” Atzberger said. “This, along with our shared mission to empower growing companies to compete digitally, makes me thrilled to welcome the Optimizely team to Episerver, as we prove there are no extraordinary experiences without experimentation.”
A company spokesperson said the deal is for a mix of cash and stock. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, with the companies remaining fully staffed and independent until then.
“Winning in today’s digital world requires delivering the best and most personalized digital experiences,” said Jay Larson, who replaced Siroker as Optimizely CEO in 2017, in a statement. “Episerver and Optimizely have a shared vision to optimize every customer touchpoint through the use of experimentation. Together, we will enable our customers to do more testing, in more places, with greater ease than ever before.”