Center City-based commerce tech company Stuzo announced today that it has acquired retail customer activation platform Hatch.
The announcement comes after a year of growth for Stuzo, founder and CEO Gunter Pfau told Technical.ly: Since early 2019, the customer activation and commerce company grew from about 40 employees to about 100.
The Center City company aims to make everyday payments easier and help retailers such as Dave & Buster’s and Sunoco drive more loyal customers to their brick and mortar stores by combining enterprise, customer and commerce data on one platform. The acquisition of Hatch will allow clients access to expanded offerings via its Open Commerce Platform product.
Crunchbase reports that Hatch had raised $25 million, including from Silicon Valley heavyweight Andreessen Horowitz, since its 2011 founding. The Chicago-based company had previously been acquired by Mobivity in 2018.
Pfau declined to talk about financial details of the acquisition, though he said the deal became official in October of last year. Hatch will maintain its office in Chicago, but its 10 employees will join Stuzo, and its former CEO Jake Kiser is now Stuzo’s chief customer officer.
The addition of the Hatch technology to Stuzo’s Open Commerce Platform was like “oil for the engine,” Pfau said (an apt simile for a company with gas station clients). The companies have very similar culture, he added.
“We both had the kind of new-school startup mentality,” he said. “And the tech is super modern, and they’re just really good people.”
The founder also talked about accomplishing the acquisition as a bootstrapped company, saying he wishes more entrepreneurs would realize that you don’t need venture capital to grow quickly or acquire a company.
“I think people feel like VC is the only way to success, and that’s not true,” the CEO said.
One other leadership change within Stuzo is that of Aaron McLean, who moved up to chief marketing officer during the acquisition. McLean said he’s excited to continue to represent a “staple” in the tech ecosystem here, and he loves to see and be able to tell the success stories of Philadelphia.
“I remain impressed by the passion and grit and determination of the Philly ecosystem,” McLean said. “We absolutely love when we see a success story in Philly, it helps inspire and show it’s possible to do great things in Philly.”
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