Mailchimp acquires Chatitive, a B2B messaging startup and Madrona Venture Labs spinout .

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(Chatitive Image)

Marketing giant Mailchimp has acquired Chatitive, a Seattle startup that helps businesses communicate with customers via text messaging.

Chatitive CEO Andy Hollenbeck. (Mailchimp Photo)

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but a person familiar with acquisition called it a “good outcome.” Mailchimp said the deal “helps our small business customers reach their audience in new ways.”

“It’s more important than ever for small businesses to reach their customers where they are, and mobile messaging is an incredibly effective way to do just that,” Mailchimp said in a statement.

Chatitive originally spun out of Madrona Venture Labs, the startup studio backed by Madrona Venture Group. Originally known as Essential, it lets brands such as Rover, Universal Music Group, and Vivion talk to their customers with SMS marketing software. It’s similar to fellow Seattle company Zipwhip and others including Klaviyo and Zingle.

Chatitive is led by Andy Hollenbeck, a tech veteran who previously co-founded RootMetrics and sold the company to IHS in 2015. He leads Chatitive with co-founder Daniel Pirone, vice president of engineering. Mike McMurray was the former CEO, but left in 2019 and is now a senior manager at Amazon.

Hollenbeck will become head of conversational SMS at Mailchimp, while other Chatitive team members — the startup employs less than 10 people — will also join the company. Mailchimp will keep the Chatitive brand alive for now.

Mailchimp is known for its email marketing software but is now developing products for social media and digital advertising. The company has 12 million active customers globally and reported $700 million for its 2019 revenue. It acquired automated design platform Sawa in 2019 and last year bought survey platform BigTeam and AI content platform Inspector 6.

Chatitive is the third Madrona Venture Labs spinout to be acquired; others include Mighty AI (Uber) and MessageYes (Nordstrom). Formed in 2014, Labs raised its third fund last year and spun out several companies last year.