Knoq (formerly known as Polis) was a startup that recruited representatives to go door-to-door in their neighborhoods, talking up client products and services. So for obvious reasons, it faced challenges in 2020.
"We stopped knocking on doors in February, and this summer, we were trying to figure out what the path forward was," founder and CEO Kendall Tucker told me.
The company had already pivoted once, shifting focus from political work to commercial marketing. But Tucker said Knoq also had some attractive assets, namely its "unique, huge consumer models" designed to predict whether someone would be interested in a given product, as well as "the experience of building out these teams of neighborhood representatives."
As part of Ad Practitioners, Tucker said Knoq's network of "Knoqers" will be able to interact with visitors to those properties and help "pair consumers with the right product," whether that's auto insurance or software. After all, she noted that plenty of consumers are connecting with Ad Practitioners via chat bots and phone calls: "These are people already asking for help ... we're really just connecting the dots."
Image Credits: Knoq
In the acquisition announcement, Ad Practitioners CEO Greg Powel made a similar point, saying that the deal represents "a shared vision of helping people make decisions through conversations driven by data and technology while educating people about products and services that matter."
“The Money and ConsumersAdvocate.org brands are already trusted by millions of highly engaged users," Powel continued. "Together, we foresee a world where consumers come to our sites for great content [and] reviews and to speak with representatives who can help them find the personal information they need.”
Knoq leadership has already moved to join Ad Practitioners in Puerto Rico, with the rest of the Knoq team set to relocate later this year as well.
You might think a startup would be inclined to stay put in its current location (in Knoq's case, Boston), at least for the duration of the pandemic, but Tucker said she's a big believer in seeing your team in person. In fact, the Knoq team had socially distanced outdoor meetups over the summer, "to brainstorm or just hang out and make sure people are okay." Plus, she's excited about the possibility of "hiring the amazing people on this island."
The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Knoq had most recently raised $2.5 million from Initialized Capital and Haystack.vc, and Tucker said it was crucial that the acquisition provided a good outcome not just for her team and herself, but also her investors.
"We're so excited for Kendall and her team on their successful exit to Ad Practitioners," said Initialized General Partner Alda Leu Dennis in a statement. "It's been a pleasure partnering with Knoq over the last few years. The Knoq team will bring a tech-forward approach to sales outreach and customer analytics. And, Kendall’s skills as a brilliant builder, operator and strategic thinker will be a huge asset for Ad Practitioners."