With GatherUp Acquisition, ASG Expands Into Reviews Space

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Six years have passed since GetFiveStars first launched as a solution that would make it easier for businesses to request customer feedback and reviews online. In the years since its debut, GetFiveStars has substantially expanded its offerings. It rebranded as GatherUp in 2018 in an effort to better convey its increasingly holistic approach to customer engagement. Today, the company is marking its next major milestone, announcing its acquisition by the software business ASG.

The acquisition has GatherUp joining ASG MarTech, a group of seven technology businesses that includes Grade.us, Reputology, and SERPs. It’s also a major milestone for ASG as the software business expands its reach into the reviews and reputation management space.

“Even though we were bootstrapped, GatherUp managed to achieve significant growth and market recognition. ASG MarTech, in having acquired seven other SaaS solutions, has managed to assemble very sophisticated teams for marketing, sales, and product development that function as shared resources to bolster our efforts,” says GatherUp co-founder Mike Blumenthal.

Blumenthal says the acquisition by ASG gives GatherUp greater access to organizational value, helping the company build better products and processes faster and more robustly. He expects there to be virtually no change in GatherUp’s day-to-day activities. All of the company’s teams—including sales, customer success, engineering, and management—will remain intact following the acquisition. Aaron Weiche will stay on as CEO. Although GatherUp was founded in San Jose, the company employs a distributed team that is now focused in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The customer engagement space that GatherUp inhabits has historically been very competitive, with a number of smaller firms entering the market and fighting for the attention of small and mid-size business owners. GatherUp managed to expand its scope by moving beyond online reviews and turning customer experience into the backbone of its platform. The company landed on the Inc. 5000: The Most Successful Companies in America this year, with a reported $2.1 million in revenue in 2018. GatherUp has also stood apart from its competitors because of its expertise in SEO and local marketing, as well as innovation, thought leadership, and consistent growth over the years.

“Our ability to not only serve small businesses [and] digital marketing agencies but also multi-location brands as large as 10,000 locations really sets us apart,” Blumenthal says. “Our own brand and reputation has come into its own thanks to our solution and our outstanding team.”

The acquisition of GatherUp by ASG happens at an interesting time in the customer review space. It wasn’t very long ago that online reputation management for local businesses meant checking Yelp reviews and posting on a Facebook page a few times per week. Now, the space has changed. Blumenthal says the industry is moving from a time of simply asking for reviews or responding to reviews to a time of managing review content to help build better businesses through sophisticated management and marketing tools. Businesses are increasingly finding ways to connect customer experience and review management software to other platforms, like CRM, POS, and social media tools, to create more targeted marketing initiatives.

“We realized a few years ago that customer experience is the bigger prize, and while we still help companies gather, manage, and market their reviews, we have adjusted to put listening to your customer to foster larger learnings at the core of what we are doing,” Blumenthal says. “If you want to win and lead in your industry, you need to know what your customer is thinking, not just what they would or do write in a review.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.Rainbow over Montclair

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.