A twenty-year old Kiwi start-up whose software is used on 1.8 billion emails in over 80 countries a year has been bought by German tech firm eKomi.
Auckland based Crossware -- which has an estimated 10 per cent share of the global email signature market -- develops software to help organisations disseminate time sensitive information.
The company's software allows customers to manage the content of staff email signatures without the need to manually configure settings on every device.
Representing the second strategic acquisition by eKomi in 2021, terms of the deal will see all Crossware 25 staff at their Auckland and UK offices remain with the company with the exception of founder Per Andersen.
Michael Ambros, CEO and founder of eKomi, said the Crossware buy represents the first step in a series of acquisitions that would expand the group and accelerate its growth strategy.
A recipient of government research funding from Callaghan Innovation, Crossware was the first in the world to develop a signature product for Microsoft's ubiquitous Office 365.
Approximately 3000 international corporations -- including professional services firm BDO Global, Chiquita Brands, French multinational ad agency Havas, Shiseido, Abu Dhabi’s shipping port operator and government departments such as New Zealand’s Ministry of Health and Te Wananga o Aotearoa -- are using the software to manage the structure and regulatory compliance of staff emails.
A recent update will allow marketers to control and even sell the space around the signature for advertising to deliver brand messages to customers or campaigns to suppliers, such as a distributor with multiple product ranges.
“We know that emails are more likely to be viewed first thing in the morning and more often throughout the day than social media platforms in the workplace and what we have seen during the pandemic is a constantly evolving macro environment with organisations needing to update their staff and customers stakeholders in real time," said Andersen.
The potential to communicate via email signatures is poorly understood by most organisations, he said.
"A company with 1000 staff sending five emails per day to an average of three recipients could potentially have 5.5 million views annually of its corporate signature campaigns -- all at next to no cost and served to a more qualified target audience than other communication mediums."
Crossware's signature designer allows companies to create and track multiple email signature banner campaigns across different segments of recipients and to change in real time based on the subject line or content of the email.
Andersen said while the opportunity cost of not effectively using email signatures to deliver communications to stakeholders was significant, the risks of allowing uncontrolled signatures was even higher. The software can help ensure emails sent from a company device are compliant with regulations, he said.
The original idea for the software was first developed for multinational insurance firm Aon. Anersen said it took him several months to recognise that this was a widespread issue for firms and could be developed into a repeatable solution.
The company’s major break came in 2014 when it was approached by Microsoft to provide a signature solution for global sports marketing corporation IMG.
Their immediate success with the implementation of the product saw Crossware selected by Microsoft as its preferred email signature solution and the first ever product to be sold via the vendor's AppSource platform -- a business app marketplace.
Crossware is also now part of the Microsoft ISV partner advisory group, which meets bi-annually with Microsoft executives to discuss new developments and products.
“With the purchase of Crossware, we at eKomi are embarking on an exciting journey with the aim of becoming the leading European customer experience group," Ambros said.
Crossware’s new email signature management solution for enterprise private cloud is hosted within the customer’s own Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure.