Scott McNealy's new company makes an acquisition

Success begets success. So when Sun Microsystems founder Scott McNealy does something, the world takes note.

Scott McNealy

News this morning that Wayin, a digital marketing software company, is acquiring U.K.-based interactive marketing platform EngageSciences. This would be a humdrum sort of an event, but for one thing -- Wayin was co-founded and is currently run by Scott McNealy, the famed founder of Sun Microsystems.

Have no doubt about this: Despite claims of Silicon Valley and the tech industry generally being a meritocracy, the fact is that when an entrepreneur has been hyper-successful before, the odds are fairly good that success will be repeated. And no matter when, the press is always keen to hear stories about "the next gig" of these individuals.

So what is Wayin? The company was founded in 2011 and integrates with Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in order to deliver social data into CRM and marketing automation platforms. The idea is that users of these enterprise systems get some customer data that they can then use within their marketing and CRM systems in order to, ultimately, sell some more stuff. A number of brands, media companies and sports teams have adopted Wayin to "persuade" consumer action, including the Denver Broncos, Dunkin' Donuts, The Weather Channel, MLB, Logitech and Walgreens.

Anyway, Wayin is today announcing the acquisition of U.K.-based marketing platform EngageSciences. As a part of the deal, Wayin will bring on EngageSciences' complete executive team of marketing technology veterans, and CEO Richard Jones is going to take over from McNealy in running the company.

EngageSciences is an interactive marketing platform more focused on the collection and repurposing of user-generated content. Essentially, EngageSceinces makes it easier for brands to leverage the work of their customers as advocates for the brand. It's an increasingly important area of marketing automation, closing the loop from user-generated content to brand distributed material. EngageSciences is based in the U.K. but operates globally, including with such well-known customers as Microsoft, Vodafone, Yahoo!, Etihad Airways, Air New Zealand, AOL, Discovery and Universal.

This announcement comes on the heels of a $15.4 million investment round for Wayin in September 2015. Together, the joint company now services more than 300 brands across 80 countries and 10 industries. The company headquarters is shifting to Denver, but the brand will keep a presence in both U.S. and U.K. markets and existing presences in Asia and the Middle East.

With McNealy stepping aside as CEO, it doesn't mean an end to his involvement -- rather he will move into the role of executive chairman and continue a day-to-day, albeit more strategic, involvement.

According to Wayin, the combination of the two companies and platforms will align Wayin's real-time social data search and visualization capabilities with EngageSciences' digital campaign delivery and first-party data collection capabilities. Together they create a more complete, consistent and holistic offering -- albeit one which unavoidably competes with part of the Adobe or Salesforce marketing platforms.

"While Wayin provides strong real-time capabilities, the combined solution will go much deeper by offering marketers the ability to gather data through polls, product feedback and reviews, and other campaigns to further understand customers and drive results," McNealy said. "With more than  500 million campaign entries on the combined platform, we are looking at approximately 1 in 14 of the world’s population having already participated in a brand campaign run on the combined company's platform. By next year, that number will be 1 in 7."

One thing is sure: Marketing is forever changing. The combined Wayin/EngageSciences business is at the forefront of this change.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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