"Everyone at Notion is proud of you for realising a vision that was so early in the market and having the resilience to see it through."
Today Idio announced that the company has been acquired by Episerver. This marks the end of a 6 year journey between Idio and Notion.
I led the Series A investment in Idio back in 2013. At the time I was struck by a few things.
First, that Ed Barrow and Andrew Davies, the two founders, were very bright and worked well together. They had actually met at Warwick University where they both got 1st Class Degrees. Second, they had a clear and compelling vision for the company – that ‘you are what you read’ and by applying AI to content consumption you could help marketers deliver truly personalised campaigns. Indeed they had originally built the tool to analyse people’s content consumption in an on-line music magazine they had set-up straight out of University. Third, they already had some really impressive customer and agency names using the product.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, as is usually the case in the world of start-ups, quite a few things! One thing that they hadn’t anticipated was that large swathes of the market weren’t ready for a solution like this. The Idio solution required customers to have a well developed content marketing strategy but few did. There was also lots of work to do on the product – on the UX and also the proposition/pricing. The company had been selling a one size fits all technology platform and, other than the early adopters, the market demanded more than that. There were also the usual missteps with some poor hires and challenges with US market entry.
Over time though they figured out the best markets to sell to. They also worked hard on the product, the positioning and the pricing. Sales became more predictable, the US became the leading market and the company started to compile an amazing list of logos. They also added David Eldridge as Chairman and Advisor to the company – adding a great deal of experience and leadership to the young team (and for me the best Chairman I have ever worked with).
Two of the most important traits in an entrepreneur are resilience and an ability to learn on the job. Ed and Andrew have demonstrated these traits time and time again and I’m proud of them for staying with it and building such a fantastic business. And all the way through this journey the vision has never changed. It is still laser focused on using AI to analyse content consumption which in turn enables marketers to deliver truly personalised communications – the promised land they are all striving for. Ed and Andrew have been talking about this for around ten years. Their vision was so prescient and now the market has caught up, something this acquisition fully validates.
With the acquisition, Episerver will be able to deliver personalised communications for their customers, a missing piece in their omni-channel content marketing platform. The acquisition will also give Idio more resources and scale to drive even faster adoption of its groundbreaking technology.
Congratulations guys. Everyone at Notion is proud of you for realising a vision that was so early in the market and having the resilience to see it through. We also wish you every success in your future adventure with Episerver – they are lucky to have you!