Kahuna Enters New Phase With Funding and Product Improvements

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CEO Adam Marchick says the $45 million will be used to explore new personalized pathways in multichannel marketing.

Mobile marketing automation provider Kahuna issued a double whammy today. It announced $45 million in Series B funding and released what it described as a “significant evolution” in its technology platform.

“This is going to cause an evolution of the marketing department,” proclaimed Kahuna CEO Adam Marchick (above) in an interview with Direct Marketing News. “Right now it has pushed marketers and email marketers and instead it will have engagement marketers.”

Marchick claimed Kahuna's upgraded platform is the first to present true capability to engage customers with personalized message at the right time and on the correct device. “You will be able to create different push messages, emails, and Facebook ads and use Kahuna to engage each individual the right way.”

One improvement instituted by Kahuna is the collection and rationalization of data to the individual level among billions of users, with data refreshed on a regular basis to include knowing which of several screens users are sitting behind. The marketing automation system helps marketers target campaigns to each channel, using historical data to inform the proper time to engage or to follow up with a customer.

“The personalization is an absolute key. One of our biggest challenges is reaching customers with personalized messages at scale and, using Kahuna, we've found push messages to be a huge boon for us,” says Michael Rodriguez, director of iOS and personalization products for The Weather Channel.

Because his company engages people several times a day in various on-the-go situations, Rodriguez says that relevant push messages are essential to keeping people safe and, in turn, keeping them using the Weather Channel app. “With push, the expectation of relevancy is at such a high degree, it's easy to turn away. But this system has been unique in providing us with visibility of the opt-in, opt-out situation.”

Tenaya Capital led the new funding round, which will pay for new talent for Kahuna, as well as global expansion. But it will all be in service of accomplishing the company's core mission, Marchick said. “We have just scratched the surface on automation,” he said. “How do you get to the point where you're sending out 10 million messages and each one feels like a handwritten note?”

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