Build versus buy? Compass acquires CRM firm Contactually

Contactually clients include Sotheby's, Berkshire Hathaway

Feb.February 27, 2019 10:44 AM

From left: Ori Allon, Zvi Band, and Robert Reffkin (Credit: Getty Images, Zvi Band, and Contactually)

As it looks to burnish its tech offerings, Compass said it had acquired Contactually, a cloud-based customer relationship management system popular with some of the brokerage industry’s biggest brands.

Terms of the deal, announced Wednesday, were not disclosed. But the Washington, D.C.-based software firm, which launched in 2011, previously raised $12 million from investors including Grotech Ventures, Flight Ventures and Rally Ventures. Contactually generated $7.3 million in 2017 revenue, according to the Inc. magazine’s annual ranking of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies.

The companies said 32 of Contactually’s employees will join Compass, the $4.4 billion SoftBank-backed brokerage. They will work under Compass’s chief technology officer Joseph Sirosh and head of product Eytan Seidman’s team of 175, the companies said.

Compass launched its own CRM last year, powered by Contactually, and the companies said in a statement Wednesday that said the acquisition would accelerate further development of the Compass CRM tool. “Adding their technology and talent to our own will supercharge the Compass offering and bring us closer to our vision of the industry’s first end-to-end platform,” Compass founder Ori Allon said in a statement.

The cloud-based CRM bills itself as an “intelligent” system that uses machine learning in features like “Best Time to Email.”

“After working extensively with the Compass team, it was apparent that joining forces would accelerate our missions,” co-founder and CEO Zvi Band said in a statement.

Compass has been doubling down on technology over the past six months, after raising $400 million from investors including SoftBank and Qatar Investment Authority. In December, Compass launched a product and engineering campus in Seattle.

But the rapid pace of innovation has come with some growing pains. In an end-of-year email to agents, Compass CEO Robert Reffkin acknowledged several missteps, the result of launching new tech products without fully vetting them with agents. “To hit deadlines, we released new software before it was ready,” he wrote. “The new tools were designed to simplify agents’ lives, but bugs in the technology made agents’ lives more complicated instead.”

In Contactually, Compass has acquired a software already used by major brokerage firms. Contactually claims to manage more than 200 million client relationships and works with major names in residential real estate, including Realogy’s Climb Real Estate; Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach Realtors and multiple Sotheby’s International Realty franchises.

The companies said Contactually’s existing customers will be able to continue to use the platform.

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