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October 12, 2020

Twilio eyes the ‘holy grail’ with $3.4bn Segment deal

Customer journey data has never been hotter.

By Ed Targett

Twilio has confirmed plans to buy customer data platform (CDP) provider Segment for $3.2 billion in stock in a deal that will give it access to a 20,000-strong customer base including blue chip brands like Intuit, FOX, Instacart, and Levi’s – and which creates a substantially more rounded customer data business, in a highly strategic acquisition.

The deal will let the California-based firm plumb Segment’s CDP into its own customer engagement channels to build visibility into customer journeys. (Twilio provides APIs that let developers bake calls, emails or other communications functionalities into an app that keeps users in an app when they interact with a third party).

As Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson put it, the deal will “add intelligence to digital engagement channels that currently power 1 trillion interactions per year… our vision is about more than communication, it’s about end-to-end customer engagement, ultimately providing businesses with the holy grail – a single view of the customer journey”.

The acquisition will  “improve the end-to-end customer experience at every touchpoint” the chief executive claimed.

See also: Eight ways to keep up with your customers during and after Covid-19

“Data silos destroy great customer experiences,” added Lawson.

“Segment lets developers and companies break down those silos and build a complete picture of their customer.” The deal will let Twilio “create more personalised, timely and impactful engagement across customer service, marketing, analytics, product and sales,” he added. “We are thrilled to welcome Segment to the Twilio team.”

The deal comes 20 months after Twilio – a California-based cloud communication company that enables customers to use standard web languages to build voice, VoIP, and SMS apps via a web API – closed its acquisition of SendGrid in a $3 billion all-stock deal. (SendGrid is a cloud-native email delivery platform that delivers 30 billion emails each month for customers including Airbnb, Spotify and Uber.)

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The deal represents an “incredible opportunity to build the customer engagement platform of the future,” said Peter Reinhardt, Segment’s CEO.

Twilio, which went public in 2016 at $26/share, is now trading at over $300/share, giving it a market capitalisation of more than $47 billion.

See also: HMRC tears up IT procurement strategy for £900m of spending

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