VC-backed Vision Critical to sell consulting arm to PE-backed MARU

Vision Critical Communications Inc has agreed to spin off its North American research consulting arm in a sale to MARU Group, a British customer intelligence professional services provider. No financial terms were disclosed. Vancouver-based Vision Critical said the deal will allow it focus on its customer intelligence software and support platform. Upon the deal’s closing this quarter, the consulting arm will become a standalone business and strategic partner to Vision Critical. Founded in 2000, Vision Critical is venture-backed. It last financing, totaling $16 million, was led by Georgian Partners in mid-2014. MARU is a portfolio company of U.K. private equity firm Primary Capital Partners.


Vision Critical spins off Research Consulting division to focus exclusively on delivering innovative customer intelligence SaaS solutions

February 24, 2016

Proceeds of the spinoff will drive continued development of customer intelligence software and best-in-class community engagement services to meet rapidly growing demand
Acquirer MARU Group forms new Research and Consulting business that becomes a Vision Critical strategic partner
More than 700 leading global companies including Adobe, DEWALT, and Univision Communications Inc. use Vision Critical’s customer intelligence software solutions to help them build better products, launch more effective marketing campaigns, improve customer experience and enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty

Vancouver, Canada – Vision Critical, a pioneer in customer intelligence software and support, today announced it has reached an agreement to spin off its North American Research Consulting division with a sale to MARU Group. The new business will operate as a standalone entity within MARU Group as MARU/VCR&C, under the leadership of the current Vision Critical research consulting executive team.

The transaction enables Vision Critical to focus exclusively on driving innovation in the fast-growing ecosystem of customer intelligence technology, expanding how companies listen, learn, and distribute customer insight throughout the enterprise. Vision Critical combines a proprietary, cloud-based software platform with a support team that leads the industry in delivering insight from large, highly engaged communities. The integrated offer empowers companies with the ongoing intelligence they need to drive more confident business decisions.

Following the transaction, Vision Critical will work in close collaboration with MARU/VCR&C via a value-added reseller and strategic partner agreement. As independent companies, each will be positioned to excel with their unique yet complementary mandates, united by a shared objective of continuing to deliver world-class customer intelligence to the world’s leading brands.

More than 700 high-performing global enterprises, including Adobe, DEWALT and Univision Communications Inc., use Vision Critical’s customer intelligence software solutions to engage their customers for trusted insight to help them build better products, launch more effective marketing campaigns, improve customer experience and enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Comments on the News

Scott Miller, CEO at Vision Critical said: “We are embarking on the logical next step in Vision Critical’s evolution, from our pioneering creation of Insight Communities to defining the future of customer intelligence inside the enterprise.

“More and more, our customers are pushing to expand the scale of their communities from tens of thousands of people to much larger groups of their customers. Because of this rapid growth in demand, focusing our efforts across three dimensions is imperative: continuing innovation in our software platform; helping our customers drive engagement and insight through best-in-class community intelligence services; and expanding our partner ecosystem around the world.

“This transaction enables Vision Critical to deliver a more comprehensive, integrated customer intelligence platform for our customers and upon which strategic partners like MARU/VCR&C will deliver a complete, world-class research consulting experience.”

The next step in Vision Critical’s evolution

Since pioneering Insight Communities over a decade ago, Vision Critical has helped hundreds of global companies build closer and more valuable customer relationships through innovations in cloud-based delivery of customer intelligence software-as-a-service.

According to Forrester Research, we are living in the “Age of the Customer.” Advances in technology have provided customers with access to more information, more choices, and more opportunities to broadcast their opinions, widely and loudly, than ever before. Customer intelligence software solutions now form a key component of modern marketing, product development, and customer experience programs, with their increasing reliance on marketing technology tools. The American advisory firm IDC estimates that by 2018, spending on marketing technology will reach $32.3 billion. Vision Critical’s proprietary, cloud-based software platform, Sparq® empowers companies to engage their customers through secure, online communities they employ continuously, across the enterprise, for ongoing feedback and insight.

In October 2015, Vision Critical unveiled the next generation of the Sparq platform, including an updated user interface and an array of new capabilities that allow companies to better understand customer motivations, preferences, and needs over time. At the same time, Vision Critical also announced its first mobile application, Engage, which makes it simple and convenient for companies to gather in-the-moment intelligence from their customers.

Proceeds from the sale of the North American Research Consulting division to the MARU Group will allow Vision Critical to invest in the continued enhancement of its platform, people and accelerating its track record of growth.

Creating two strong, complementary businesses

Going forward, MARU Group becomes a value-added strategic partner and will work towards a shared objective of continued growth and expansion.

Through the collaboration, Vision Critical will continue to benefit from the capability and expertise of its former Research Consulting team in managing full service end-to-end research projects powered by Insight Communities. MARU/VCR&C will continue to fully leverage the Sparq customer intelligence platform. All current Vision Critical Research & Consulting employees (approximately 160 people distributed in offices across North America) will retain their roles in the new independent company and continue to serve the same customers.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016, subject to certain closing conditions.

About MARU Group

MARU Group is a customer intelligence information and insight services firm. Operating in multiple countries, MARU Group provides research, insight and advisory services to large enterprises across a broad spectrum of industries and markets. Founded in 2016, MARU Group’s core area of expertise is providing fast and strategic customer feedback to corporations through a variety of technology platforms. Led by market intelligence industry veteran Ged Parton, MARU Group is backed by Primary Capital Partners LLP, a provider of private equity finance for high potential and growth companies.

Learn more at Follow MARU on Twitter at

About Vision Critical

Vision Critical provides a cloud-based customer intelligence platform that allows companies to build engaged, secure communities of customers they can use continuously, across the enterprise, for ongoing, real-time feedback and insight. Designed for today’s always-on, social and mobile savvy customer, Vision Critical’s technology helps large, customer-centric enterprises discover what their customers want so they can deliver what they need. Unlike traditional customer research, which is slow, expensive and gathers dust on a shelf, Vision Critical’s customer intelligence platform replaces static data and cumbersome reports with real-time actionable customer intelligence that companies need to build better products, deliver better services and achieve better business outcomes.

Hundreds of high-performance organizations use Vision Critical’s technology. Follow us on Twitter at

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