In Conversation: SmarterHQ CEO Michael Osborne

In Conversation: SmarterHQ CEO Michael Osborne

Recently, we announced that Wunderkind, the leading performance marketing channel that delivers one-to-one messages at scale, is acquiring SmarterHQ, the leading advanced segmentation and orchestration engine for enterprise eCommerce. The combination will help further Wunderkind’s growth into the $860B eCommerce industry by enhancing our offering in travel and finance. The acquisition will see SmarterHQ speed Wunderkind’s ability to ship new, high-impact products for enterprise retailers and will be immediately integrated into Wunderkind’s SMS platform. 

“Ultimately we’re in the business of revenue,” said CEO of Wunderkind Ryan Urban. “And this acquisition will allow us to drive a lot more revenue for enterprise retailers and will strengthen our partnerships with the major marketing clouds.” SmarterHQ CEO & President Michael Osborne echoed this sentiment when noting that, “Combining the flexibility of SmarterHQ with the massive scale of Wunderkind’s identification technology will make everything we do more impactful, together. Ryan and I have always been laser-focused on how our products drive revenue for our clients, and I know that we’ll be even stronger, together” 

To celebrate this historic milestone, we sat down with Michael Osborne from SmarterHQ to get a better sense of his background, what excites him about joining Wunderkind, and why he feels the combination of the two companies will be a great revenue driver for clients. 

Wunderkind: Tell us who you are!

Michael Osborne: Ok sure! The path I took to get to CEO of SmarterHQ is actually not all that straightforward. I started off with my education in Electrical and Computer Engineering, but then went straight into enterprise pre-sales for the software company Trilogy, in Austin, TX. 

That’s actually why I moved to Austin 22 years ago. After that I ran client services for Coremetrics, which is where I got really into data and analytics—especially for retailers and B2C marketers. The founder of Coremetrics eventually left, started Bazaarvoice, and recruited me to be CRO. We grew the company from 9 employees to over 800 and an IPO in 2012. And then after that, when SmarterHQ opened up a CEO search, a board member at the time from Battery Ventures asked me to join. Now, I’m super excited to be joining the Wunderkind family!

Wknd: At what point did you meet Ryan Urban?

MO: Ryan and I met maybe 5 or 6 years ago now. It was at eTail West in Palm Springs, if I’m not mistaken. We’d probably crossed paths prior to that given both of us have been in MarTech for a while, but I do remember when meeting him that he already knew SmarterHQ (I had recently joined as CEO). 

This was back when Wunderkind was BounceExchange, and I was impressed with the passion that Ryan had for the problems they were solving. We continued to meet up at industry events over the years and started talking more seriously about a partnership a few years ago. This combination has been in the making for quite some time and I’m thrilled to now have it official.

Wknd: What excites you about joining the Wunderkind family (and vice versa)?

MO: So many things! The fact that we’ve both been in a similar space for years, yet had so very few overlapping customers, is really a testament to how we do complimentary things—while still both focusing on customer delight, revenue growth, and results. 

I’ve always had a ton of respect for the growth and scale of the Wunderkind organization—and the fantastic results that the service drives. Ryan and I have thought for years that if you put both together, the solution will really be amazing. I’m also super excited to bring industry leading segmentation capabilities to the mix, add the ability to take in and leverage external data sources to further enrich personalization of messaging, and apply all of it to the amazing SMS offering that Wunderkind has. I know it’s cliche to say one plus one is three, but in this case it’s more like ten. 

On top of all of that, the people are amazing! The culture and care for their employees that Wunderkind has are fantastic. Everyone at SmarterHQ was thrilled to hear the news and it’s only gotten more exciting.

Wknd: Why is this combination going to be great for clients?

MO: Well some of that I already mentioned—the products naturally compliment each other, the goals are aligned between the two organizations, and the client list just got even more amazing. 

With this combination we now have even more capabilities to expand upon, more engineering talent to build with, industry leading identity reach and personalization capabilities to offer, and so many great people that wake up every day focused only on driving revenue and value for customers. In the client conversations I’ve had already it’s obvious that there’s true excitement for the current and future potential. 

Clients are going to get even more value from this combined relationship and our innovation speed just went to eleven. The exciting news just started with the announcement—it’s only going to get better. I can’t wait to speak with as many clients as I can, soon!

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Wunderkind, Formerly BounceX

Wunderkind (formerly BounceX) is a leading performance marketing engine that delivers tailored experiences at scale. Digital businesses use Wunderkind to remember who users are better than ever before, allowing them to deliver high-performing, one-to-one messages on websites, through emails and texts, and in ads at a scale that’s not otherwise possible.