Hootsuite acquires Sparkcentral to boost social media customer service

6 Jan 2021

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The latest acquisition by the Canadian company will strengthen its push into ‘social customer care’.

Hootsuite, the social media management software firm, has acquired Sparkcentral, a digital customer service start-up.

Sparkcentral, which has raised more than $37m from investors, builds tools for businesses to connect with customers through messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It counts Slack, Air Canada and Uber-owned ride-hailing outfit Careem among its clients.

Hootsuite chief executive Tom Keiser said there is a growing demand for communicating with customers through social media, especially amid the pandemic and the digital acceleration that has come with it.

“Our customers have been asking for more capabilities in the area of social customer care and we’re excited to expand our offering with this new acquisition,” Keiser said.

“Brands and organisations must grow their digital capabilities to connect with their customers on the social and messaging platforms their customers use, not the other way around.”

Sparkcentral is based in New York and Belgium, and its team will now join Hootsuite. Christoph Neut, chief executive of Sparkcentral, will take on the role of vice-president of sales at Hootsuite. No financial terms for the deal have been disclosed.

“We have built a robust social customer care platform to enable some of the world’s leading brands with scalable SLA-based [service level agreement] engagement throughout every step of the customer journey – from the marketing and sales phase to the post-sales phase,” Neut added.

The Sparkcentral deal marks Hootsuite’s latest acquisition. The Vancouver-headquartered company has made around a dozen acquisitions since its founding in 2008. It now has offices in Canada, the US, Europe and Australia.

Keiser, a former chief operating officer at Zendesk, took the reins as chief executive of Hootsuite last June after co-founder Ryan Holmes stepped down after leading the company for more than a decade.

The company has been subject to rumours of an IPO for years. Keiser told Fortune last year that the company was in “no rush” to go public but that plans would become clearer over the next year and a half.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin