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by Michael J. Shapiro | June 01, 2016

Event-management software provider Etouches has acquired Zentila, a hotel-sourcing and -booking platform. The companies, which are private, did not disclose terms. The Norwalk, Conn.-based Etouches will retain Zentila's home office in Orlando as well as all personnel and the name of the platform. Zentila CEO and founder Mike Mason will join the Etouches executive team as vice president of sourcing and hospitality solutions.

Etouches offers an "end-to-end" event management toolbox, with a focus on registration, marketing, logistics, engagement and data. Last summer the company acquired Inevention, a hotel- and venue-sourcing engine; Zentila's platform is more robust and builds on that technology, facilitating and streamlining the electronic request-for-proposal process, tracking negotiations, collecting data and producing reports for strategic meetings managment. Special features also are offered for third-party planning professionals.

"Zentila represents a perfect complement to our industry-leading platform," said Shane Edmonds, CTO of Etouches. "Zentila's product, technology and staff will bolster Etouches' venue sourcing and allow us to offer a fully integrated solution as part of the entire event-management software process."

According to Etouches CEO Oni Chukwu, the respective technologies are compatible and already can be used in tandem. But the first instance of the fully integrated solution will debut in early to mid-July. "We've been looking for the past year at all the ways our products can work together," added Chukwu, which in part explains the rapid integration timeline.

"On the Zentila side, too," added Mike Mason, "we're set up to integrate. We built our sourcing solution to build into other products, so it makes it that much easier to create this level of integration so quickly."

"I think this is a marriage made in heaven, for many reasons," said Chukwu. "As we've seen, the customers in our industry have reached a stage where their programs are more mature and they are needing more best-in-class products, and they're needing them in a very clear, integrated fashion. It's more now a survival of the comprehensive and integrated - and we are squarely on that march."

The two companies have been discussing an Etouches-Zentila marriage for more than a year, according to both CEOs; it evolved from strategic partnership talks to the current idea that fully joining forces would produce a more robust, better-integrated platform. The course had already been plotted when Lanyon owner Vista Equity Partners announced in April its acquisition of Lanyon rival Cvent, thereby putting the two biggest market competitors under the same ownership umbrella. According to Chukwu, that announcement has worked to Etouches' advantage.

"That combination does two things for us," he noted. "First of all, it creates confusion in the marketplace among customers of Cvent and Lanyon: what's going to happen, how long is it going to take, which partner comes out on top? All the questions that customers would ask in a merger like that. And secondly, what it does for us is that it thrusts us into a position as the alternative. We're now the only comprehensive solution in the marketplace that rivals theirs."

Zentila is the platform that powers M&C'Facility Search.