The Tel Aviv company is shifting its focus to the online app sphere and will be launching new products and making acquisitions to cement its role in the industry
Last fall Perion Networks merged with Conduit Ltd.’s Client Connect business in a move designed to help the consumer software company transition into a new enterprise with a focus on B2B solutions for app developers. Now, eight months later, the company has rebranded itself as it gears up to launch several new tools to become a one-stop-shop for app developers looking to monetize, promote and optimize their products.
Perion on June 1 launched it rebranding, which includes a new dynamic logo that – like the Google logo that keeps millions of people on their toes – will change daily, reflecting the company’s dynamic nature and ability to innovate in the rapidly changing industry, according to a statement on the rebranding. The change is in that the round part of the ‘P’ in the Perion logo will change continuously in color and design.
A shift in focus
The rebranding has been in the making long before the Conduit merger, Tomer Pascal, the general manager of Perion’s utility tools business unit, told Geektime. Perion, which was founded in 2000, was formerly known as IncrediMail and provided an email service for consumers. It also has other products such as Smilebox, Molto, PhotoJoy, and SweetIM. To serve its own enterprises, Perion started developing marketing analytics and monetization tools and realized that maybe its tools would also be attractive to the greater world of app developers, Pascal said. The company then began its strategic shift to become a B2B company providing tools to app developers from a B2C company providing software to consumers.
“The deal with Conduit was just a bonus,” Pascal said, noting that the change was in the works long before the ink dried on the deal agreement. While maybe not the start of the change, it definitely helped move the company into its new direction.
Perion is now launching several new products to target app developers and provide tools for app promotion, monetization and optimization. Two of the products include CodeFuel, a monetization and distribution solution for digital businesses that began and as a business unit of Conduit, and the recently announced Lightspeed.
Lightspeed will be Perion’s next product to come out and will deal with mobile app promotion. The product has been in development for several months and is expected to be released in a closed beta in the third quarter of this year, and released to the public by the end of the year, Pascal said. Already a few big market players have signed up for the closed beta, but there are still some open spots for developers that would like to try out the tool. Lightspeed will help address how to distribute apps and how to track marketing activities on mobile, which does not have the same cookies or abilities to pass on data the way desktop apps do.
Pascal is overseeing Lightspeed’s development, which is being undertaken by several different development teams all working together. Pascal said that one challenge with developing Lightspeed has been the fact that Perion is an established enterprise that is creating new tools as if it were a startup.
Keeping the startup mentality
“We have the spirit of a startup and the scale of an enterprise,” Pascal said, calling the company a “startuprise.” Pascal noted that all Perion consumer products use the company’s B2B products so the company can test out how its own products work.
At this point, there aren’t really many places an app developer can go to get tools for promotion, monetization and optimization, so Perion is looking to become that one place that can provide developers with everything they need.
Other tools, such as their tool for optimization, have yet to be released. Pascal said Perion is working to develop these tools organically or through making further acquisitions to grow in those spaces.
“We are always actively looking for acquisitions,” Pascal said. So in the next year we may see Perion making some big plays in app optimization sphere. (In January it was rumored that Perion was in talks to acquire digital advertising platform myThings, but so far nothing has been said by either company about whether there is any truth to it.)
While the company may be looking at different startups that could complement its business, it is also planning on launching a quasi accelerator program to help new companies grow. The companies in the program will not necessarily be bred to fit into the Perion enterprise, Pascal said; he wasn’t even sure if they would limit the program to startups in Perion’s own field. The program will come after Perion moves to its new office in the new Azrieli center in Holon in August. Pascal said Perion wants to develop a hub to help startups with free office space and access to mentoring to help nurture the Israeli startup ecosystem.
So the company, which began itself as a startup 14 years ago has never really left the startup industry, as it finds itself growing in size (it now has about 500 employees) but still trying to create with the agility of a brand new company. It will be interesting to see how Perion maneuvers in the future as it continues to grow while trying to hold on to the startup mentality as a “startuprise.”