Rakuten Intelligence, formerly the e-receipt vendor called Slice Intelligence, announced recently that it had acquired alternative data marketer, Aviso Partners. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Acquisition of Aviso Partners
Rakuten Intelligence, the nontraditional market research firm previously called Slice Intelligence, recently announced that it has acquired the alternative data marketing firm, Aviso Partners. Rakuten and Aviso have been working together over the past few years to market Rakuten’s e-receipts data to the asset management community.
Rakuten management explained that the primary reason for the acquisition was because of Aviso’s deep hedge fund and alternative data expertise, as well as the fact that Aviso’s staff are considered to be trusted advisors by many of their buy-side clients. Rakuten felt it was better to acquire Aviso than try to replicate its knowledge base and expertise in-house.
Founded in 2010 as Slice Intelligence, Rakuten Intelligence has built the largest panel of e-commerce data in the U.S. The firm collects e-receipts from its panel of 5 million online shoppers via its Slice app which enables shoppers to organize, track and manage their online purchases; and the Unroll.Me service which reduces inbox clutter. Rakuten markets its data and the insights derived from this data to corporate and financial services customers.
Slice Intelligence was acquired by Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten Inc. in August 2014. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Rakuten, a company that operates various online marketplace sites, had previously invested in Slice in 2013.
Aviso Partners, established in 2015 by alternative data industry pioneers Greg Lederman and Joe Zorumski, acts as a marketing partner to non-traditional market research and alternative data vendors looking to grow their client base within the asset management industry. In addition to Rakuten, Aviso currently works with twelve other alternative data providers.
Rakuten’s acquisition of Aviso Partners makes sense as Aviso provides the relevant expertise of both the alternative data space and the asset management industry that Rakuten will need if it wants to grow its presence in the financial services industry. In fact, Aviso founders Lederman and Zorumski are slated to be co-heads of Rakuten Intelligence’s Financial Services group.
As you can see from the above LinkedIn chart, a large percentage of Rakuten’s staff (39%) are IT related. Most of the staff at Aviso, on the other hand, primarily have sales, research, or product related backgrounds.
One of our concerns about the acquisition was how Rakuten was planning to keep Aviso executives actively motivated and incentivized to remain involved in the business post acquisition. While Rakuten management refused to discuss terms of the deal, they did acknowledge that this was an issue the firm took into consideration when creating the structure of the acquisition. Management also explained that the Aviso team was really excited about getting to work directly with Rakuten and its various data and technology capabilities.
Another issue we initially had about the acquisition was how it might impact Aviso’s other alternative data providers. Rakuten management does not expect it to have any impact, particularly as Aviso has worked with all of the firms previously and nothing Rakuten is doing would directly compete with any of Aviso’s other data partners. In fact, having more capital behind the firm as well as more technology depth might be seen to be a benefit for Aviso’s other data providers.