Exited in the Alley: inSparq


insparq acquisition

inSparq, the real time platform that allows retailers and brands to discover and market their trending products founded in 2010 by Veronika Sonsev and Richie Hecker has been acquired by Somerville, New Jersey-based Adiant.   Adiant delivers digital solutions to publishers and advertisers and operates the largest native ad exchange on the web with over 550M monthly global uniques. The inSparq suite of solutions includes marketing toolkits, trending product recommendations, and integrated social tools that are being used by brands like Coca-Cola, Kenneth Cole, and American Apparel. inSparq had raised three rounds of funding with the most recent round in the fall of 2014 and the amount of the acquisition has not been disclosed.

Today, we chat with Insparq CEO Veronika Sonsev about the acquisition, the decision to sell, and the future.

Tell us about your service.

inSparq is a technology platform that helps retailers and brands discover and market their trending products in real time. Trends showcase what’s hot at the moment by analyzing products that shoppers share on social media and what they purchase online.  inSparq is the only solution that enables retailers and brands to instantly merchandise trending products in on-site recommendations, email marketing as well as ads.

Who acquired you and what was the acquisition process like?

inSparq was acquired by Adiant, owner of Adblade, the largest content-style native advertising platform on the web. Adiant has advertising reach of more than 550M monthly global uniques and specializes in providing cutting edge digital marketing solutions for advertisers.

inSparq was starting to get into the advertising business in the start of the year and we initially approached Adiant about a partnership. The partnership had so many synergies that it seemed natural to take it to the next level. This acquisition would allow inSparq to deeply integrate with Adiant’s platform and to be used on a larger scale. The plan is to turn our socially trending technology into content-style ads that would have access to millions of consumers.

It was an extremely exciting process for us! We were open to being acquired, but really wanted to make sure the acquirer could help us maintain our product integrity while growing our infrastructure. It was also important that we could continue to service our current customer base. Adiant embraced our products and our customers, which include American Apparel, giggle, DrJays.com and Newegg.

What factors about your business led Adiant to consider the acquisition?

Adiant saw huge synergies between our social recommendation technology and their content-style native ad network. Leveraging inSparq’s technology to create dynamic ads with socially trending products enabled Adiant to better serve retailers and brands with a truly relevant and engaging experience. Pair this with Adiant’s vast-premium network and expertise in digital marketing, it was a home run!

What factors about Adiant influenced your decision to be acquired?

As I mentioned earlier, inSparq was starting to get into advertising this year. As we were discussing a partnership with Adiant, we saw so many synergies that the acquisition conversation seemed natural.

What really convinced me was that Adiant saw our vision. We not only want to provide an advertising solution, but one that is best in class and taps into the unique power of social media. There was nothing in the digital advertising world that combines the power of social media and trending products with Adiant’s scale.

They offered us an opportunity to keep our product and corporate integrity while amplifying it, so it can reach millions of consumers. With Adiant, we could take inSparq to the next level.

Veronika Sonsev

Veronika Sonsev

What are your plans going forward?

I’m going to stay on as the acting CEO of inSparq to ensure continuity and growth of the company. I’m sure you expected me to say I was going to take a break, but this acquisition has energized my efforts. It’s amazing to see something that you created and nurtured really grow into something more, and have access to resources that can make it scale.

I’m currently working with the different departments within Adiant to bring everyone up to speed on how inSparq can be integrated into Sales, Marketing, and the Publisher-side of the business.

It’s an exciting time to be involved. I really can’t wait to see what the next few months bring for all of us.

What advice can you offer companies in New York that are building their businesses?

There is so much that I learned from being an entrepreneur. In terms of this acquisition, I learned that (a) you never know how your business will play out and (b) it’s good to have a broad and engaged network.

It’s important to have an open mind and look for new ways to grow your business. Until this year, inSparq was focused on providing a social recommendation solution to retailers. We were essentially a SaaS business.

We started to explore advertising as a new use of our technology to help us scale. With this new advertising product, we saw new partnerships emerge and that eventually lead to our acquisition.

Those partnerships came out of having a broad and engaged network. My cofounder and I know lots of people and kept our networks active. We were always discussing ways we can partner with companies to help us scale and we were open to where those partnerships could take us.

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