The enterprise identity resolution platform market is crowded with pure-play platforms, large data firms and credit reporting companies. Identity resolution is a capability that many martech ecosystem platforms provide incidentally, but not as a standalone product or service.
The segment experienced an influx of venture capital and a wave of consolidation between 2017 and 2018, when four vendors garnered more than $40 million in six funding rounds. There were 12 acquisitions during that same time period. Comparatively, 2019 and 2020 (through Q1) saw fewer financial transactions, as vendors integrated newly acquired resources to broaden their identity capabilities.
LiveRamp was one of the few identity resolution companies that was aggressive on the M&A front in 2019, purchasing consent management platform Faktor for an undisclosed sum in April and Data Plus Math, a TV advertising measurement firm, for $150 million in June.
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Dentsu Aegis Network sought to bolster Merkle’s identity resolution capabilities by acquiring people-based identity technology developer 4Cite Marketing in January 2020. The largest players in the identity resolution space include three publicly held companies: Experian, LiveRamp and Oracle. Acxiom, Neustar, Valassis and Merkle are all owned by either global agencies or private equity firms.
Privately held, pure-play identity resolution vendors such as FullContact, Infutor, Signal, SmarterHQ and Throtle, are significantly smaller, staff-wise, using venture capital investments to boost their platform marketing, research and development, and staffing.
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