Seven-year-old content marketing firm Percolate is growing up. The company is bringing on digital marketing vet Randy Wootton as CEO to help ramp up the business to attract a different clientele, namely enterprise companies like Adobe, Salesforce and IBM.
Current CEO (and co-founder) Noah Brier is heading back to his roots as the company’s chief technology officer, and the company’s other co-founder, James Gross, is moving into what Percolate calls a “new strategic leadership role” where he’ll be focused on sales and customer growth. Brier will split his time between talking to customers and working with Percolate’s product team, while Gross will meet with customers and prospects in the fields.
“We are going back to where our focus was when we started the company,” Brier said.
Percolate is one of a handful of high-valuation companies that built their businesses by plugging into social platforms and helping marketers extract insights to plan digital and social content.
Wootton is tasked with making Percolate “the system of record for marketers” in a crowded industry that includes companies like Sprinklr and Spredfast. Wootton plans to specifically focus on the enterprise space and big brands that work across multiple products and locations. He’s also looking to add “marketing resource management” (a fancy way of saying business operational tasks, like budgets and accounting).
Percolate has raised $74 million in venture capital to date from Sequonia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, GGV Capital and First Round Capital. The company has talked about working with big enterprise clients for a number of years, but it hasn’t materialized; bringing in Wootton may be a signal that investors are looking for Percolate to expand.
Wootton has a history of helping tech companies build up and eventually sell their technology, most notably with Sizmek’s acquisition of Rocket Fuel last year for $145 million. So, is Percolate looking for a buyer? Wootton didn’t say, but he hinted at significant interest from investors.
“Ad tech is a percentage of media [while] mar tech is a true platform, subscription-based revenue stream and that was one of the struggles that we had at RocketFuel,” he said. “With mar-tech players, you get multi-year contracts and when you are dealing with investors and putting yourself in that enterprise application space, that’s a model that they’re used to … Investors are all-in and see it as a huge opportunity, and that’s part of the reason I came on board, because it’s a great investment space.”
Brier agreed that there’s a big untapped opportunity within software companies.
“The big guys are really focused on the distribution of content and the marketing foundation players who have the CMS—where we’re focused is [helping to] manage and orchestrate that content as it goes upstream and give marketers visibility across marketing channels, and then deliver downstream to whatever tools that [marketers] use,” he said.