The acquisition price is $ 35 million and Pusher co-founder and CEO Max Williams and Pusher’s 25-person team are joining MessageBird, headquartered in Amsterdam. (In 2018, Pusher told TechCrunch he has a team of 60, so there have obviously been cost reductions in recent years.)
The Pusher product will remain independent for existing customers, while Pusher’s technology, with an emphasis on in-app notifications and a developer-friendly API and SDKs built around push, will help fill a gap. gap in MessageBird’s own communication platform, which is stronger in SMS and messaging channels such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Line and WeChat etc. Specifically, Pusher would bring features like integrated messaging, push notifications, and location tracking.
“The agreement opens up a host of new tools and features that will help MessageBird customers speak to their customers in an even broader way than before,” says MessageBird.
Founded in 2011, Pusher aimed to lower barriers for developers who want to integrate real-time functionality into their websites and applications. This was originally delivered through a general purpose real-time API and supporting cloud infrastructure, making it easier for app developers to create things like rich push notifications, content updates. live and various real-time communication and collaboration features.
More recently, however, the company had started rolling out additional offerings dedicated to specific real-time functionality. The first of these was Chatkit, an API and SDK meant to do the heavy lifting of adding chat functionality to an app or service. This has since been extended to also include maps and maps / location tracking. Pusher clients include GitHub, Mailchimp, CodeShip, and The Financial Times.
Meanwhile, MessageBird was originally seen as a European or “rest of the world” competitor to US-based Twilio – offering a cloud-based communications platform that supports voice, video and text capabilities, all wrapped up in an API – but has since repositioned itself as an “Omnichannel Platform as a Service” (OPaaS). The idea is to make it easy for businesses and small to medium-sized businesses to communicate with customers on any channel they choose.
Out of the box, this includes support for WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, Twitter, Line, Telegram, SMS, email and voice. Customers can start online and then move their support request or case to a more convenient channel, such as their favorite mobile messaging app, which of course can go with them. It’s all part of MessageBird founder and CEO Robert Vis’s big bet that the future of customer interactions is omnichannel.
Therefore, acquiring Pusher seems like a good choice, overall. London and Amsterdam are close geographically and with similar time zones, while MessageBird is turning into a remote business first anyway. There is also undoubtedly enough product overlap, but also real gaps for the twinning to be obvious.
On a brief call with MessageBird CEO and Founder Robert Vis, he spoke to the technology and team at Pusher and emphasized his belief that it’s important for outgoing startups to find a “good home.” Rather than just being acquired and then disappearing without leaving a trace. Likewise, if MessageBird is to be truly omnichannel, you need a very good push API and a suite of products. The next decision then was to acquire or build, and in this case teaming up with Pusher was seen as the best way forward.
Meanwhile, Vis advised me to expect a lot more M&A in the omnichannel and messaging platform space. Not just from MessageBird as it heads for a potential IPO, but competitors as well.