Acxiom acquires kefta: Part I of the Kefta story

In recent weeks, Kefta was acquired by Acxiom for an undisclosed amount (it was a good exit). 

The story is one that is filled with good karma, good entrepreneurial lessons, and ultimately makes a great story.  The most notable part of the company story from my perspective has been the founder perseverance in the face of adversity to bring the company back from the brink of bankruptcy in 2003. Philippe, Michael, and Fazal should be congratulated for an outstanding job.
The blog version of the kefta story follows:
Part I - 2000 to 2003

  • Kefta was started in January of 2000 by Philippe Suchet, Michael Oiknine, and Fazal Majid. I was also given honorary co-founder status.
  • The company started as an email version of All Advantage. Use our email client and get a cut of ad revenues for promoting companies (or something like that).
  • I was an EIR at Softbank and managed to convince Rex Golding and Brad Feld to make the initial investment.
  • The company couldn't think of a company name so used kefta as a placeholder -- the founders used to eat kefta kabobs. Obviously, the name stuck.
  • In the first 6 months of the company, it became clear that keftamail as a consumer play wasn't likely to work. So the company shifted to more of an enterprise model. Remember the timing here: April of 2000 everything that was consumer internet was dead.  The company retooled and started to sell a set of marketing solutions to enterprise customers which first included a refer a friend product.
  • In 2002, the company raised a Series B round that was led by a small bay area VC firm called Amicus.  There were two partners at Amicus Capital : Bob Zipp, the senior partner and Michael Samols the junior partner.  Michael Samols ultimately was the point partner (but didn’t have total authority) and made the decision to invest in Kefta.  Kefta managed to raise this Series B round on the backs of one big French customer called Societe Generale.   The company had moved from just selling refer a friend solutions to selling suite of solutions that would enable marketers to significantly improve online revenues with better site conversion.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part II of the story.