Goldman-Backed Startup Optimizely to Be Bought by Episerver

Privately held Episerver Inc. said it would acquire Optimizely Inc., a 10-year-old technology company backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and actor Ashton Kutcher for less than it had previously been valued.

Episerver paid less than $600 million for Optimizely, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. Optimizely’s valuation was $600 million in its funding round in June, according to PitchBook.

No financial terms of the deal were disclosed and the companies declined to comment on the price. Optimizely’s exact valuation couldn’t be learned.

The exit is a muted outcome for Optimizely since startup founders and venture investors tend to hope for major exits at unicorn valuations.

When it was a younger company, Optimizely had raised funding from the who’s who of venture investors including Benchmark, Andreessen Horowitz, and Index Ventures. Kutcher is listed as an angel investor on its website.

Goldman Sachs led a funding round into the company last year.

Like many startups, Optimizely had to cut staff in July due to the impact of the impact of Covid-19 on its business. It reduced its workforce by 60 people, a spokesperson said.

Optimizely, founded in 2010 by former Google executives, helps companies such as Peloton, Nike and Uber manage and test different versions of websites to maximize the amount of clicks.

Founders Pete Koomen and Dan Siroker worked for more than two years at Google under Marissa Mayer, who was Google’s former vice president for search products and user experience.

Episerver Chief Executive Officer Alex Atzberger said the Optimizely deal was the “the most significant transformation in our company’s history – one that will set a new industry standard for digital experience platforms.”

Insight Venture Partners bought Episerver for $1.16 billion in 2018, according to a statement at the time. This is Episerver’s largest deal to date, a spokesperson said.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Goldman Sachs advised Optimizely.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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