KORE Software announced two acquisitions on Tuesday to expand its solutions around engagement marketing. The purchases include Hookit, a sponsorship analytics platform focused on social and digital, and the pro sports business of SSB, which helps clients with their fan engagement. No financial terms were released.
Hookit was founded in 2001 by Scott Tilton and RJ Kraus and uses an AI-powered sponsorship technology to help 75 current clients, like Audi, Bose, Oakley and Red Bull. It will operate as a business unit within KORE, according to Tilton. “We are approaching a similar problem from two different angles,” Tilton said in a phone interview. “They are more engagement marketing, CRM and data input, while we are more data aggregation around social and digital. I think we will help the industry as a whole tell a more complete ROI picture.”
In 2017, Hookit raised $16 million in an investment round led by Arrowhead Capital, and a subsequent round brought total outside funding to $20 million. Last year, Hookit teamed up with KORE for a mutual client, HSBC, as the founders contemplated raising additional capital. KORE was helping the financial services giant organize all of its sponsorship assets, while Hookit was supplying content data. Tilton says the companies kept in touch after the HSBC project, and acquisition talks heated up in the fall.
“Social has become a critical driver for sponsorship value and activation effectiveness,” Jason Fletcher, KORE Software CEO, said via email. “Hookit is the clear leader in social sponsorship measurement and activation optimization. Together we’ll be better equipped to provide an impactful, comprehensive platform serving the entire engagement marketing landscape.”
The acquisition of SSB’s pro sports business will add more than 50 new customers and roughly a dozen employees to New York-based KORE. Current SSB clients include the Minnesota Vikings, Brooklyn Nets, NASCAR and Monumental Sports and Entertainment. SSB is pivoting its focus to college sports and university fundraising. It has worked with Notre Dame, LSU, Michigan and Florida on the college end.
The KORE platform is focused on sponsorship activation, fan engagement, ticket sales, partnership analysis and data analytics. For example, Nashville SC turned to KORE for a data-driven strategy to manage and track fan engagement ahead of its inaugural MLS season in 2020. With the two acquisitions, KORE will serve nearly 1,000 sports properties, 20,000 athletes, and more than 100 global brands.