Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) announced in a blog post on Monday that it would acquire privately held start-up Kustomer. The company provides a customer-relationship management (CRM) platform that helps businesses manage customer communications across a variety of channels.
The price of the deal wasn't disclosed but was reportedly worth just over $1 billion, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, citing "people familiar with the matter."
One of the consequences of the pandemic has been an acceleration in the digital transformation. Facebook noted this shift, pointing out that "texts and messages have become just as important as that phone call -- and businesses need to adapt." More than 175 million people contact businesses via its WhatsApp social media platform, and the number is growing, according to Facebook.
After releasing several tools recently to allow customers to communicate with businesses more easily via Messenger and WhatsApp, Facebook was ready to take the next step, bringing Kustomer onboard. The CRM platform is an omnichannel tool that gathers customer communications from a variety of channels and brings them together in a single screen. It also automates repetitive tasks, allowing customer-service personnel to "maximize the time and quality of interactions with customers."
Kustomer allows businesses to aggregate and respond to customer communications, and was previously integrated with Messenger. Facebook began incorporating similar capabilities into Instagram just last month.
Kustomer's founders, Brad Birnbaum and Jeremy Suriel, spent a previous stint at Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) and have a history of successful start-ups. The pair sold their cloud-based customer app Assistly to Salesforce in 2011 for $80 million.