NEWS7 September 2011

Confirmit embraces mobile with Techneos buy

M&A North America

CANADA— Research software maker Confirmit has acquired mobile survey specialist Techneos Systems.

Techneos’s mobile feedback technology will be incorporated into Confirmit’s Horizons platform, and as of next year the company will trade as the mobile solutions division of Confirmit.

Dave King, CEO of Techneos, has become executive vice president of Confirmit Mobile Solutions. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Vancouver-based Techneos was founded in 1995 and provides services to corporate end-clients as well as research agencies. Its staff of 12 join around 250 employed by Confirmit, which has its headquarters in Oslo, Norway.

Techneos has developed feedback and survey apps for Apple, Android, Blackberry, Nokia and Windows mobile devices, whereas Confirmit’s existing mobile software was limited to iPhones. Techneos’s systems can be used for surveys as well as diaries, video research and ethnographic techniques.

Confirmit CEO Henning Hansen said the integration of Techneos’s mobile software “empowers our customers to talk to the right audiences, at the right time, in the right way”.

Hansen told Research: “Once we concluded that smartphones and mobile as a platform were going to have a major impact some time in the future, we went out in the market to talk to a lot of small niche companies doing mobile feedback, and concluded that we would like to take the next step with Techneos.”

The company said no jobs would go as a result of the deal, and it is looking to recruit more people to the mobile division in Vancouver, including in R&D. “This is not about finding synergies or slashing costs,” said Hansen. “It’s a growth opportunity for us as a company and for our employees.”

Dave King of Techneos said the capabilities of the two firms represented a “powerful combination”. “Everybody at Techneos is very excited about this. It really legitimises what we’re doing in the marketplace,” he said.

Although mobile research remains a very small part of the industry in terms of revenues, Confirmit’s chief strategy officer Pat Molloy pointed to predictions that internet-enabled mobile devices will outnumber desktop computers by as soon as 2014. “For the generation that is [emerging] now, the internet for them is just a mobile experience. They do not have, typically, broadband connections or landlines. More and more people will be doing surveys on mobile devices, it’s just inevitable. The writing’s on the wall that mobile devices will have a very great significance in the next few years.”

Confirmit said 150 million surveys were completed using its software last year, while Techneos’s system was used for 15 million mobile surveys.