CrownPeak merges with ActiveStandards and raises funding

Web Content & Experience Management (WCM) vendor CrownPeak has merged with UK-based ActiveStandards and received a fresh injection of investment funding. As subscribers to our Web Content & Experience Management know, CrownPeak is one of the very few vendors in the relatively crowded WCM marketplace who provides a truly multitenant, Software-as-a-Service  WCM solution.

In last year’s analysis of Web Content & Experience Management Systems, we had this to say about CrownPeak:

CrownPeak has made very few advancements on its roadmap. The company has gone into an “underground mode” over the past few years, attempting to pretty itself up for a sale, but it appears no buyers are interested. We strongly caution you perform due diligence researching this vendor.

Well, we were wrong about one thing: it appears that indeed there was an interested buyer.  We see a lot of private investor funds are sloshing around out there looking to invest in digital transformation technologies.  So, CrownPeak and ActiveStandard's were able to trade their old investment money for new.  But as we'll see below, there was also a price to be paid.

First, Enter ActiveStandards

ActiveStandards, offers Digital Quality Management (DQM) platform that according to ActiveStandards provides you with the “tools you need to optimize your digital content, and ensure your policies and standards are effectively deployed across your web presence.”

ActiveStandards (also a pure SaaS play) and CrownPeak already offered an integrated solution to several joint customers. This will further solidify the integration and joint customers will have one less vendor to worry about. ActiveStandards also integrates with many other WCM tools and will continue to be offered as a standalone solution called "CrownPeak Digital Quality Management.” However, we will have to see how this will impact their relationship with other WCM vendors.

The history of these sorts of vertical tie-ups has not been very promising. Rather than synergistic, one offering can become a lode-stone when bound to the other.

How will it impact CrownPeak’s development?

This merger is also accompanied with a funding of $50 million by VC firm K1 Investment Management.  This is critical because both CrownPeak and ActiveStandards had "older" investment stakes that probably needed to exit. 

SaaS vendors such as CrownPeak face limitations vis-a-vis on-premise product vendors, especially when it comes to capabilities related to integration and customization -- and this has hurt them in a WCM market where enterprise customers have tended towards more extensible, single-tenant solutions. This additional funding will help them further modernize the platform, which was sort of lagging behind other tools in terms of cutting-edge features.

Leadership Changes

The new funds came at a price. Longtime CrownPeak CEO and co-founder Jim Howard gives way to current COO Jim Yares, while assuming an advisory role. The well-respected ActiveStandards CEO Simon Lande also becomes an advisor to the combined company. 

What’s in it for you the customer?

The past several years have seen speculation about a CrownPeak sale, especially since longtime competitor Clickability is now on its third owner. Those speculations will be rested for some time and hopefully the market will see a stronger and better SaaS-based offering. Fresh leadership will probably also help.  In the short term though, don’t expect major changes.

As for the two offerings under one roof: as always judge them on their individual merits.

As always, we will keep you informed via our reports and other tools.

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