Friday, September 07, 2007

Omniture offers $65M for Offermatica

Back when I worked at Netscape in New York ('98-'99) I got to know the brothers Roche (Matthew & James) who in 1996 started Fort Point Partners, a web development shop that worked with retailers such as J.Crew, KMart/, Intel, HP and Estee Lauder.

It's rare to see co-founder brothers, and even rarer still to name your startup after a surf spot - 'Fort Point' is a great spot under the Golden Gate Bridge in S.F.

Anyways, James & Matt built a thriving practice around helping retailers building personalization into their ecommerce websites, and F.P.P.'s platform of choice became ATG. Lead forward a few years and I was at Totality, a managed services provider (since acquired by Verizon) that provided outsourced management of large [ATG-based] sites such as American Airlines, Best Buy, Sharper Image and Cabela's.

Totality was actually a company formed from within Fort Point Partners. Michael Carrier, who was one of the early guys (co-founder perhaps?) at FPP kept noticing that FPP had no one at the client to hand over site operations to once they had finished building the site, and so he had the bright idea to build a company to do just that - outsourced site operations so that the site operator could focus on their core functions (marketing, merchandising, etc).

FPP hit hard times after the bubble burst, and hobbled along for a few years until they got the religion around multi-variate A/B testing. Not to toot my own horn (well, yes, actually I am tooting my own horn), but I had a conversation back in mid-2003 with one of the FPP guys wherein I told them how interesting and long-legged I though the multi-variate A/B testing space was. My core thesis? Everyone was just starting to buy lots of paid search traffic, which would eventually lead to an arms race on the part of advertisers to increase their conversion rates in order to remain competitive in search.

Since then FPP renamed itself Offermatica, hired one of the best bag-carrying sales managers I know in Darren Johnson (aka DJ) and has gone out and fairly well dominated the landing page optimization industry here in the U.S., despite Optimost's 2-year head start. This I credit to

1) FPP's having been in business since 1996;
2) the hunger that comes from having invested 10 years of your life into a startup;
3) a huge amount of learning in the area of personalization and via the ATG platform;
4) a stellar sales execution effort, to which Matthew and James Roche contributed, but which DJ spearheaded. Frankly, DJ kicked ass.

Seeing Omniture, the world leader in web analytics, pay $65M for Offermatica is for me a heart-warming story of perseverance, the restorative powers of bursting bubbles, brothers-in-arms and great sales execution.

Congrats guys!


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