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Janrain acquires Arktan, a product company co-founded by Indians

Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy
posted on 21st December 2014
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Customer identity management technology company Janrain, founded by technology pioneer Larry Drebes, has announced the acquisition of Arktan, a company that provides innovative real-time social curation and customer engagement products to its customers. Cofounded by Rahul Aggarwal and Srikanth Nagandla in 2009, Arktan, which is based in Redwood City, California, has been bought by the Portland, Oregon, headquartered Janrain for an undisclosed sum.

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Larry Drebes’s innovation, Rocket Mail, was acquired by Yahoo! and is being used as Yahoo! Mail. He had also pioneered the concept of open log-in, where a user could use a single user name and password to log in to multiple e-mail accounts, across Gmail, Yahoo! and Hotmail domains, long before Facebook and Twitter took over our lives and social log-ins.

Brands use Janrain to accumulate data on the customer’s demographic profile and preferences. The company uses social log-ins to create a customer profile when they visit a brand’s webpage (across devices and other marketing channels) and maintains the database of customers for the brand. Arktan specializes in real-time customer engagement by offering brands data on customer engagement with them through social media conversations and mentions.Instead of using two different entities for customer identity and engagement, the brands can now use a single account to keep track of both. The strategic joining of hands is a win-win proposition for both the companies and the brands that use them.

Larry said in his blog, “I’m excited to announce that the Janrain platform has become even more powerful through the acquisition of Arktan, a leading digital engagement platform that has revolutionized the way brands integrate user-generated content into the customer journey. With the Arktan platform, leading customers already have the ability to create unparalleled experiences across their digital properties. Now with integration of the platform with Janrain, marketers will be able to seamlessly integrate their customer engagement experiences into their core identity management platform and leverage more data about their customers than ever before.”

Rahul wrote in his blog, “The opportunity to shape the rapidly evolving digital landscape for enterprises has never been greater. In order to realize the full potential of the opportunity in front of us, I am excited to announce that Arktan has joined forces with Janrain. The acquisition of Arktan by Janrain brings in integrated customer engagement and identity platform to a rapidly expanding market to meet growing customer needs.”

Janrain has created a Janrain Customer Engagement Business Unit and all the Arktan employees will be part of it. Janrain has marquee customers such as Samsung, Philips, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Universal Music Group, and Pfizer. Arktan is providing services toleading global brands such as NBC Sports, Turner Broadcasting, Walmart, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and Sony Music.

Arktan’s cofounder Srikanth recounts that for the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket in the last edition, Arktan accumulated data on which states were supporting a particular team during a live match. On the IPL official page, there was a Facebook page powered by Arktan that showed which cricketer was trending. The Valley provides immense opportunities for strategic acquisitions of technology startups if they are offering niche solutions to customers. Technology emanating from the Valley is also considered cutting edge and is most sought-after. The Indian ecosystem has witnessed just a blip on the acquisition radar once in a while. This acquisition also showcases the boldness of two young Indian employees who started up and were successful in taking their bootstrapped company to acquisition without any intermediate funding.

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