Sydney-founded Rokt raises $458m to strengthen AI e-commerce tech

Sydney-founded Rokt raises $458m to strengthen AI e-commerce tech

Rokt co-founder and CEO Bruce Buchanan.

Sydney-founded, New York-headquartered tech unicorn Rokt has closed the largest single venture raise in Australian history, securing a $2.75 billion valuation from a US$325 million (AUD$458 million) Series E funding round led by Tiger Global.

Founded through the acquisition of Rocklive in 2012, Rokt uses AI and machine learning to allow e-commerce retailers to leverage their own first-party data to deliver more relevant and personalised messages and offers, leading to higher engagement and more revenue.

The company will use the funds to invest in R&D, international expansion and strategic acquisitions, at a time when restrictions on digital ad tracking have reduced the return on investment online businesses achieve by advertising on search platforms and social media sites.

Rokt has gone far since its US$8 million Series A capital raise in 2013 - a year when it first launched with eBay, and expanded into Melbourne, Singapore and New Zealand. Today more than 3,000 brands globally are using Rokt's solution, including Live Nation, Groupon, Staples, Wayfair, Fanatics, Vistaprint and Ticketmaster.

The group now has 320 employees with operations across Europe, Canada, the USA, Singapore and Japan.

"Customers are demanding a more relevant ecommerce experience and businesses need to ensure they have the right economics to be able to grow," says Buchanan, Rokt's CEO and former Jetstar Group CEO, who co-founded the tech business with Rocklive co-founder Justin Viles.

"Our technology solves these two problems by optimizing every element of the transaction moment, both for relevancy and value for each individual customer, enabling digital businesses to remove irrelevant clutter and double their profitability.

Other participants in the round included Wellington Management, Whale Rock Capital Management, Pavilion Capital and existing shareholders Square Peg, AustralianSuper and Hostplus.

"We’re thrilled to partner with Tiger Global and the rest of this prestigious group of investors to accelerate our product development and global expansion efforts and enable more partners to boost their profitability, connect brands to new customers, and deepen engagement and loyalty," Buchanan adds.

Square Peg co-founder and partner Paul Bassat, who also co-founded job listings site Seek (ASX: SEK), describes Buchanan as an exceptional founder.

"I’m thrilled that the new funding empowers him and the team to continue building what is, without a doubt, one of the best companies to come out of Australia," Bassat says.

"Rokt has profoundly changed the way brands acquire and convert customers worldwide which is why market-leading pioneers such as Disney+, GoDaddy and Ticketmaster are their customers.

"Rokt’s growth over the past few years has been truly remarkable and we’re thrilled to be investing again, this time alongside world-leading superannuation funds, and Square Peg backers, Hostplus and AustralianSuper."

Tiger Global partner Griffin Schroeder says Rokt’s exceptional management team has the vision and the capability to continue accelerating growth and providing unique solutions for their clients.

"Rokt has unlocked a new digital advertising opportunity for the online ecosystem – the transaction moment. And they are just scratching the surface of what is possible in this moment."

 

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