Aussie tech start-up 5th Finger acquired by US giant Merkle


Australian-founded mobile solutions provider 5th Finger has been acquired by customer relationship management firm Merkle, five years after relocating from Sydney to the US.


Led by chief executive Patrick Collins, 5th Finger is regarded as the global authority on innovative mobile retail solutions and mobile health solutions.


After raising $7 million in venture capital funding from Melbourne-based Starfish Ventures, 5th Finger moved its global headquarters from Sydney to San Francisco in 2007.


“We chose to base ourselves in San Francisco in order to stay close to one of the largest capital markets in the world,” Collins told StartupSmart last year.


The move paid off – Collins confirmed 5th Finger has been acquired by CRM firm Merkle; the largest privately-held agency in the United States.


With more than 1,600 employees, Merkle works with clients to design, executive and evaluate connected CRM programs, with the aim of maximising the value of their customer portfolios.


Collins says the acquisition will provide 5th Finger’s clients with a “deeper, more analytics-driven mobile solution”.


It will also add another layer of expertise to Merkle’s connected CRM methodology, and will complement Merkle’s existing mobile marketing practice.


“With Merkle’s extensive client base, a marriage between our two businesses feels very natural,” Collin says.


“The team at 5th Finger will continue growing the business, and the 5th Finger brand will be added to the suite of brands at Merkle.”


5th Finger will be positioned within Merkle’s Digital Solutions Group. Collins is confident 5th Finger clients will look back at the announcement “as the day our relationship accelerated”.


David Williams, chairman and chief executive of Merkle, said in a statement the acquisition will “present our clients with new tools and expertise in consumer mobile marketing”.


“5th Finger’s unique hybrid of being a traditional mobile agency and deep technology provider will help expand Merkle’s capabilities to meet the changing landscape of marketing, fuelled by the evolution of the mobile space,” Williams said.


5th Finger derives mobile-enabled revenue for retailers like Jos. A. Bank, Jo-Ann Fabric & Crafts and Safeway, and improves patient adherence for major pharmaceutical companies.


It has developed a suite of industry-leading mobile technologies including RedShop, a software platform for retailers and brands.


RedShop enables customisable mobile web, mobile app and tablet commerce experiences.


Meanwhile, 5th Finger’s mobile health technology, RedShop Rx, provides the most secure health tracking, education, engagement and sales support functions on the market.


Its latest product, RedShop Responsive, offers a unified and easily managed website experience across desktop, mobile and tablet environments.