Toronto-based Trufan has acquired Kelowna-based PLAYR.gg, a move by the social intelligence platform to enter the first-party data market, which involves collecting information directly from customers.
The acquisition was made through a purchase of Trufan’s stock. The value of the deal was not disclosed. All ten PLAYR.gg employees will be joining Trufan, including six from the development team. The deal also includes PLAYR.gg’s technology, which will be integrated into Trufan’s audience analytics platform to provide customers with a single dashboard to segment and filter data.
“Integrating with Trufan will allow us to introduce best-in-class analytics and allow us to further develop our platform.”
“It was pretty imperative for [PLAYR.gg’s] team to come on,” said Swish Goswami, co-founder and CEO of Trufan. “They’re some of the smartest developers we’ve met, they’ve built this platform from the ground up the last three years.”
Founded in 2017, Trufan has raised over $1.8 million CAD to date and acquired New York-based SocialRank in November 2019. Prior to the PLAYR.gg acquisition, the startup had 18 employees, and over 500 customers and 10,000 free users. Trufan claims to be the world’s largest social database, a platform that helps brands or influencers find their top fans, with over 10 million audience reports and 2.4 billion social profiles. Trufan’s customer base includes the NBA, Netflix and Sony Music. CEO Goswami co-founded Trufan at the age of 20, along with COO Aanikh Kler. He credits the startup’s growth to its ability to adapt to its customers’ needs.
“The most important kind of skill that an entrepreneur needs to have in this space is being adaptive,” said Goswami. “It’s important to have a mindset of, ‘What are my customers going through? What problems are they facing? What problems can I solve for them?’ That’s essentially how we came up with the idea to move into first-party data. We’re looking at an entire data market and trying to figure out how to disrupt that.”
PLAYR.gg was founded in 2017 by Austin Walper and works with brands, esports teams, content creators, and businesses to generate first-party data and grow their gaming audience, through giveaway marketing and custom API integration. Its customers include Electronic Arts, UFC, Bud Light and GFUEL. PLAYR.gg also works with content creators across Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming to drive audience growth and fan engagement campaigns. Walper will be joining Trufan as chief strategy officer, while president Andrew Mastracci will become Trufan’s chief technology officer.
“Integrating with Trufan will allow us to introduce best-in-class analytics and allow us to further develop our platform by helping brands and creators to grow, segment, and activate their audiences in new ways that have never been done before,” said Walper. “Our team has always been focused on building the best platform for brands and content creators to grow and manage their audiences, and this acquisition really accelerates our ability to execute and enhances our product offering.”
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According to Goswami, the move to acquire PLAYR.gg is in response to an industry shift away from third-party data. In January, Google announced that it would be eliminating third-party cookies from its Chrome browser by 2022, a move that significantly impacts advertisers who use third-party data to power their businesses. Goswami also indicated that the increased scrutiny on the security and privacy of platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok, along with the rise of adblockers, will result in additional restrictions on advertisers.
PLAYR.gg typically works with brands on developing a giveaway that enables them to generate first-party data, including an email, mailing address, or phone number. As Trufan primarily operates in the third-party data space, Goswami said he anticipated that brands will move towards more first-party data initiatives. He added that the goal of unifying the two platforms allows Trufan customers the ability to visualize data in a dashboard where they can segment, sort, and filter it.
According to Markets and Markets, the global Customer Data Platform (CDP) market, software that aggregates and organizes customer data, is expected to grow from $2.4 billion USD in 2020 to $10.3 billion USD by 2025. Goswami said in response to that trend, Trufan is in the process of raising an additional $3 million USD to accelerate its growth across marketing, sales, and product development. While the capital has yet to be closed, Goswami told BetaKit 50 percent of that money is earmarked for product development, including expanding the development team, while the other 30 and 20 percent is for sales and marketing.
UPDATE 19/11/2020: This article previously named Trufan’s COO as Aanikh Khan and has been updated with the correct name.