Software Firm 8thBridge Sold But Plans Expansion

8thBridge’s CEO said he plans to bring on more employees now that the company is part of San Francisco-based e-commerce firm Fluid.

Minneapolis-based software firm 8thBridge, Inc., has been sold to digital shopping software and services company Fluid for an undisclosed sum.
San Francisco-based Fluid announced the deal on Monday, although the acquisition officially closed on Friday. According to 8thBridge CEO Wade Gerten, 8thBridge will maintain its Minneapolis office and is even planning to expand its employee base, which currently includes 17 workers, as a result of the deal.
“We’re hiring additional engineering talent,” Gerten told Twin Cities Business. “We’re starting with a few now and then we’ll likely be adding more this summer.”
Gerten said the company’s current office space in Minneapolis’ Warehouse District should be large enough for its immediate expansion, but the company may begin looking for a bigger space this summer.
8thBridge provides software that helps its clients derive consumer insights, execute loyalty programs, and conduct social networking campaigns. Its cornerstone software platform is called Graphite, which it launched in 2012, and helps companies better monetize social media. (Read more about the platform here.) The company’s clients include Minnesota businesses such as Medina-based Polaris and Minneapolis-based Target, as well as out-of-state giants like Delta Air Lines and Hallmark.

“Fluid thrives on helping retailers find new ways to connect with their customer base and provide engaging, compelling experiences that turn shoppers into buyers,” Fluid CEO Kent Deverell said in a statement. “8thBridge has a strong track record of delivering innovative social CRM [Customer Relationship Management] solutions that connect shoppers to each other, that build community and content around brands and products, and that help drive an unparalleled level of customer insight through the social analytics technology built into the Graphite platform.”
As a result of the deal, 8thBridge has dropped its name and will operate as a part of Fluid. However, according to Gerten, 8thBridge will operate as a separate business unit “for a little while” to make sure the integration of the two companies goes smoothly—with Gerten continuing to lead the 8thBridge unit.
Fluid recently raised $24 million from Goldman Sachs, said Gerten, and is in the process of accelerating its software business.
8thBridge was founded in 2008 as Alvenda, Inc., and just one year later won the Minnesota Cup entrepreneurial competition. Shortly thereafter, it raised $15 million—one–third of which came from Eden Prairie-based venture capital firm Split Rock Partners.