Mailchimp Acquires Messaging Startup Chatitive

By Jemima McEvoy Thursday, January 21, 2021

Mailchimp, the marketing automation platform and email marketing service, has made an interesting new acquisition. For an undisclosed sum, the $700 million company has acquired Chatitive, a Seattle-based startup that helps businesses connect with their customers through text messages. Here’s what you need to know about this acquisition and the future of these soon-to-be-merged companies.

What’s Chatitive?

Chatitive is a four-year-old startup that advertises itself, on its website, as the “industry’s first context-aware SMS marketing software platform.” The startup’s business pitch is pretty unique: helping brands engage with their customers over personalized mobile messaging. The company was started by entrepreneurs and founders Daniel Pirone and Mike McMurray.

“Marketing isn’t the same as 20 years ago,” reads the website of the company now run by CEO Andy Hollenbeck. “Now more than ever, we engage with each other through digital abstractions and mobile messaging is the primary channel for how we chat with friends, daily, and coworkers.”

A Successful Track Record

Chat to companies like you do a friend or family member? The idea appears to be resonating. The startup has attracted the attention of investors like Madrona Venture Group, Unlock Venture Partners, and Madrona Venture Labs, which have contributed to the company’s $650 million in fundraising, according to Crunchbase.

Furthermore, Chatitive has racked up some big names that now use its platform: Universal Music Group, Rover, Vivino, Burst Oral Care, and Goose Island Beer.

What’s in It for Mailchimp?

Mailchimp is looking to enhance its marketing and commerce offerings for small businesses. The company is constantly looking for new opportunities. In the past year, it acquired feedback management platform BigTeam, automated design platform Sawa, and AI platform Inspector 6.

This time around, Mailchimp says it’s hoping to help small businesses reach their clients “where they are,” according to a statement released by the company. “Mobile messaging is an incredibly effective way to do just that,” said Mailchimp.

Hollenbeck will not take on a roll leading conversational SMS at Mailchimp; the startup’s other employees will join the company too.

Final Takeaways

There are multiple useful takeaways from this acquisition. The first is Mailchimp’s keen eye for evolving its platform and offerings — the company is actively looking forward and avoiding complacency despite its success. The second is Chatitive’s innovation. Being the first at anything is a great business strategy, and Chatitive has made a name for itself thinking outside the box — and now it’s paying off.

About the Author


Headshot for author Jemima McEvoy

Jemima is a journalist who enjoys reporting on business, particularly small business and entrepreneurship.

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