How Sarbacane seeks to establish itself in digital marketing

Sarbacane announced this Tuesday, November 8, 2022 to raise 110 million euros, half in debt and the other in equity. The software publisher in the field of marketing (campaign management, sending newsletters, etc.) announces that it wants to accelerate its development, thus opening its capital after years of self-financing. After the arrival of IDI in its capital in 2020, around the EMZ fund to participate in this round.

Marketing solutions for SMEs

Founded in 2001 in Hem, in northern France, Sarbacane now has offices in Berlin, Friborg and Barcelona. Its offering focused on business communication is a mix between software component and personalized support on customers’ request. The choice for them: either support for discovering tools and technical support, or more extensive support with a coach who helps them with their marketing campaigns. Sarbacane says that there is an offer that lies between the behemoths of the sector, such as Adobe, and start-ups that do not offer support in addition to their product.

Therefore, Sarbacane’s solutions are specifically aimed at SMEs. Somewhat atypically, Sarbacane’s target is BtoB with many public administrations (ministry, CAF, Urssaf, town hall, etc.). Then there are e-commerce companies, hotels, car dealerships… He claims to have around 25,000 customers in Europe.

An external growth strategy

This fundraiser “is not used to finance organic growth but has a strategic destination for external growth”, explains Mathieu Tarnus, founder and CEO of Sarbacane. The company took over Lille start-up Marketing 1By1 and its twenty employees. This start-up, which publishes digital marketing software, specializes in business data integration. The solution is specifically aimed at BtoC companies with a lot of data: it combines all these flows in one platform and offers data exploitation solutions. At this level, tools developed by Sarbacane can be interfaced. Mathieu Tarnus emphasized “a good complementarity” between the two companies because Sarbacane does not have a single data repository.

By acquiring this new layer, the company wants to target a new market: the large accounts. For this, the two companies will work to strengthen the interaction between the two solutions. “The external growth strategy has two goals: integration and diversification”, explains Mathieu Tarnus. Sarbacane wants to become one of the biggest players in Europe in this relatively mature digital marketing market, where competition is fierce.

Goal of 100 million turnover by 2026

In this direction, it took over Rapidmail in March 2021. This German start-up, which still has its own identity, products and teams, has enabled it to establish itself in Germany on a long-term basis. Getting Marketing 1By1 should go the same way. “The Sarbacane platform evolves over time by integrating the offerings of acquired companies”, summarizes Mathieu Tarnus. Datanas, the third company acquired by Sarbacane, still has its identity and brand, but the solution is integrated into the Sarbacane software suite.

This is why the company changed its name to Positive Group. Sarbacane remains the operating brand, and Positive Group has stepped up to include other entities such as Marketing 1By1, Rapidmail and Datanas. “The strategy is financial and behind it, brands maintain their identity, their teams and their operation”summarizes Mathieu Tarnus.

The Positive Group should have a turnover of around 26 to 27 million euros this year, which represents a growth of 30% compared to last year. The ambition is to reach 100 million euros in turnover by 2026, with a workforce of around 500 people, compared to 170 today. For this, Mathieu Tarnus explains the betting on “organic growth of 10 to 15% complemented by external growth of around 20%.” Other acquisitions should be made in the coming years.

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