Today, TUNE was acquired by Constellation Software, a $21B market cap Canadian company. They operate vertical software and acquire companies to grow market share in those verticals quickly. You can learn more about the announcement from our press release. In this post, I want to spend some time describing what this new ownership means for TUNE, our customers, and partner marketing.
A Market Share Play
TUNE is the second acquisition in performance marketing under the Perseus Operating Group within Constellation. You might recall that the first was CAKE last year, TUNE’s longest-standing rival in affiliate software. We have often considered what a merger or consolidation might look like with CAKE, and now we’ll be joining forces with the backing of a major acquirer behind us. While TUNE and CAKE have different approaches to the market, we have an incredible amount of learnings, opportunities, and efficiencies we can now share. Combining this know-how, our market share, and plans for more acquisitions in performance marketing, I believe we’ll be able to deliver better, more sustainable software for our customers than ever before. Needless to say, TUNE and CAKE playing on the same team is a really big deal to those that know our ecosystem, and I can’t wait to see many more acquisitions on the horizon.
TUNE’s Vision for an Open Platform
This change in ownership furthers TUNE’s promise to enable both Advertisers AND Networks to flexibly manage their marketing partnerships. If you’ve been following along with our product advancements over the last 18 months, you saw heavy investment in our platform to become a true contender in the partner marketing category — competing directly with the advertiser oriented incumbents. Today, we find ourselves with a seat at that table as the much more cost-effective, far more flexible partner marketing platform for advertisers, and with a pure SaaS approach.
Our vision is different from our competition. Instead of saying affiliate marketing is dead or trying to cannibalize margin from affiliate networks, we strive to empower advertisers to work with more networks as part of their partner marketing portfolio, and we do not take a cut of the commissions. TUNE believes that networks are a critical part of the overall mix and require technology that is unbiased and openly integrated so that Advertisers can find the scale they need. With Constellation Software as our new ownership, we are reinforcing that software enablement approach and cementing TUNE’s vision for an open platform.
A Better Long Term Strategy
If you have followed the category recently, you know this is not the only consolidation effort going on in partner marketing today. Private Equity (PE) investors acquired stakes in Impact and Partnerize, with an obvious plan to roll up more companies. The difference between their approach and ours, however, is that PE buyers need to see a return in the next three to five years by selling what they have acquired to a larger strategic buyer. That means their decisions will focus most immediate corporate revenue gains.
Constellation’s strategy is to acquire and hold their investments, with the goal of creating sustainable growth and profitability. This long-term view translates into a customer-focused, reliable, and forward-thinking business. This is exactly what TUNE customers need when their business depends on our uptime, security, privacy, and flexibility, which should never be sacrificed for short-term gains. We must continue expanding the platform to address all customer verticals, which means making measured investments in technology to materially impact the widest number of customers and partners.
YOUR Partner Marketing Platform
Our mission is to provide the best platform for customers to manage their own marketing partnerships. You’ll notice that even our homepage says “partner the way you want to.” If you read anything into this ownership change today, it should be that TUNE has the time and talent to be fully committed to that mission.
Thank you to all of our customers, partners, and employees who made this day possible, and a special thank you to our founders, Lucas and Lee Brown, for having the vision to transform marketing partnerships with better software.
Cheers to the future of an open partner ecosystem!
A digital marketer by background, Peter is the former CEO of TUNE, the enterprise platform for partner marketing. In 2018, he sold TUNE’s mobile measurement product to Branch, unifying measurement and user experience. He led TUNE’s efforts to bring better management technology and automation to marketing partnerships, across affiliates, influencers, networks, and business development relationships. Follow @peterhamilton