Akeneo’s Future Bountiful Thanks to New Investment
Akeneo, the global leader in Product Experience Management (PXM) solutions have recently secured a whopping $46 million in funding, thanks to global equity investor Summit Partners and existing investors Alven, Partech, and Salesforce Ventures, as well as the company’s board member Stephan Dietrich.
Akeneo’s website might be dominated by the imaginative, omnipresent Ziggy, their adorable three-headed hydra mascot, but they don’t play around when it comes to helping companies like Sephora, Bentley, and Fossil manage their product information. Their solutions help merchants deliver “consistent and enriched customer experiences across all sales channels, including eCommerce, mobile, print and retail point of sale.”
Currently, Akeneo has over 180 employees across the six different countries, over 300 enterprise customers, and their PIM (Product Information Management) solutions have been installed more than 60,000 times.
In their PIM 101 eBook, Akeneo defines PIM as a “set of business practices, and a category of business application focused on managing product information for use across an organization from the supply chain to commerce to customers.” A PIM can be used to manage technical, usage, and emotional information. It allows the user to “collect, manage and enrich the product information, create product catalogs, and distribute information to sales and eCommerce channels.” Companies that use PIM see better ROI numbers, have higher data governance, and ultimately deliver a better customer experience. Currently, Akeneo offers its PIM services in the following editions:
In their PXM for Dummies ebook, Akeneo defines PXM as “the subtle science of delivering product information in context, adapted and tailored by channel and locale to match the buying experience at every touchpoint.” They add that “having the right data and insight into the type of product experience buyers expect, is the foundation for any great customer experience.” The following solutions support Akeneo PXM:
Steffan Peyer, a principal at Summit Partners, is expected to join Akeneo’s board of directors. “We believe Akeneo’s highly-focused product approach, as well as its hyper-connectivity with the broader commerce stack, makes it uniquely capable of addressing complex and specific customer product information needs.” He added, “In an omnichannel world, PXM represents the next evolution of product information management, which is becoming the new CRM of product data.” Fred de Gombert, CEO, and co-founder of Akeneo, also noted that “PXM is becoming a critical business application for brands and distributors to win in omnichannel retail.” With regard to the funding round, de Gombert had this to say. “With Summit’s extensive experience scaling global SaaS businesses and our existing investors’ continued support, we look forward to helping more brands, and retail merchants deliver seamless product experiences with even greater efficiency and scale.”
We reached out to Akeneo to find out more about their services and how the new funding will help fuel their expansion.
What makes Akeneo’s PIM experience special, and what differentiators set it apart from other PIM experiences?
“Akeneo offers more than just product information management — our goal is to offer brands and retailers comprehensive product experience management (PXM). We strive to help companies create a more compelling customer experience by enhancing shoppers’ interactions with their products.
Akeneo has developed the No. 1 open-source enterprise PIM community with more than 60,000 live implementations that deliver unparalleled market insights and connectivity for ongoing product development. We also have an AI-powered product data intelligence solution that helps retailers and brands automate the process of product information curation and enrichment.
Additionally, Akeneo offers customers the ability to more easily manage omnichannel catalogs. Our user-friendly business application allows product development, marketing, and e-commerce teams to collaborate in a central hub, which provides a single source of truth for product information. We also offer a robust onboarding solution for suppliers to upload and manage product data.
Akeneo’s PXM solutions are designed to accommodate multiple languages and currencies, and we offer flexible SaaS, PaaS, or on-premises deployment of these solutions.”
Please explain PXM and how it contrasts with PIM?
“Product experience management (PXM) is an overarching strategy in which brands deliver targeted, engaging, contextualized product experiences across all customer touchpoints — and PIM serves as the foundation of that strategy.
A good PIM system allows merchants to craft accurate product descriptions that are customized for each channel. It also integrates with digital asset management (DAM) capabilities that bring product images, videos, and other forms of media to life in a way that is relevant and appropriate for each channel. These contextualized product experiences are meant to evoke emotional reactions from consumers. Finally, a PIM connects to content syndication solutions allowing merchants to create optimized feeds to ensure that these diverse types of content go to the appropriate channels.
We at Akeneo feel that PIM is becoming commonplace to manage product information, just as CRM is now the standard for storing and managing customer data, and that PXM will become a core strategy among brands and retailers at an ever-increasing rate.”
What are the benefits to companies using a robust PXM?
“There are several advantages to a comprehensive PXM strategy for customers in both the B2B and B2C sectors. Many B2B merchants are focusing on digital transformation, providing their salesforce and customers continuous access to up-to-date and contextualized product information, and managing complex or highly regulated data. In fact, the quality of product data is regularly cited among B2B customers as a critical factor in purchasing decisions.
A key driver for B2C retailers is enhancing the product and brand experience. PXM helps retailers succeed in this area by creating memorable, personalized product interactions. Customers can view product details, photos, and videos that are appropriate for the channel they are using. They can also view product information in the language and currencies that are relevant to their regions.
A robust PXM solution can help improve cross-functional collaboration and internal processes, helping marketing teams to promote their products in the best possible light at every conceivable customer touchpoint.”
Akeneo recently raised $46M in investment funding. What does Akeneo plan on using their investment for, and how will the funds help Akeneo expand its services?
“We plan to invest significantly in R&D, including looking into ways that AI and automation can continue to enhance our PIM system and help companies monitor the quality of their customers’ product experiences.
We also recognize that our ability to become a global leader depends on talented employees, so we plan to grow our staff by more than 100 people in the upcoming year. And we plan to scale up our sales and marketing efforts.”
What can we expect to see in Akeneo's future?
“Akeneo will continue to deliver on its PXM vision with new functionalities to automate product information curation and enrichment thanks to AI and machine-learning capabilities, facilitate product data import and export, and better integrate with product syndication tools to provide an end-to-end solution.
We will continue to innovate and draw valuable insights from our highly-connected open-source community.
Ventana Research predicts that, by 2021, 50 percent of organizations will use a modern dedicated PIM environment to manage product processes and provide high-quality product experiences. We expect Akeneo to maintain its position as the top company in the PIM space.”
Akeneo PIM Community Edition releases are named after Bugs Bunny episodes. Is there some kind of uniqueness in each edition version that earns it a particular Bugs Bunny episode name?
‘Bugs Bunny’ is what we jokingly call our development team’s race to fix bugs during each release cycle. It started with the first version of Akeneo PIM, and since then, it has been a tradition to name our product releases after Bugs Bunny episodes, sometimes with a wordplay on the episode name.
For example, the first version of Akeneo PIM was called ‘Hare we go’. Later we referred to the original version of our software as ‘The Old Grey Hare’. When we released version 1.5, which greatly improved performance, we called it ‘Fresh Hare’. Version 1.7, which introduced a new user interface, was called ‘Rebel Rabbit’.
Akeneo will use the new funding to further expand its sales and marketing efforts in the United States, invest in research and development, and hire over 100 additional staff members to help support their anticipated growth.