2015 INC. 5000 RANK: 598
HEADQUARTERS: Chicago, IL
YEAR FOUNDED: 2010
2014 REVENUE: $6.3 million
Really great design matters to companies big and small. Just ask consumer electronics giant Apple, whose sleek product design and keen user interface is prized by all in the tech world. It pretty much set the standard for any company hoping to be successful.
But that philosophy has also trickled down to how users experience the services they purchase, either directly or via apps, from companies that don’t sell hardware.
San Francisco's Salesforce is best-known for its customer relationship management (CRM) software platform. However, its acquisition of the Chicago-based user design and app building company is a hat-tip to the need for a well-designed customer experience, which has fueled acquisitions completed in recent years by other large companies. It's been a trend particularly among companies whose mission is to help others build their businesses.
In recent years, large consulting firms Accenture and McKinsey & Company have acquired design firms Fjord and Lunar, respectively. Financial services giant Capital One acquired Monsoon in July for an undisclosed sum. Mobile payments company Square purchased design firm 80/20 in 2012. Tech Giants Facebook and Google have also joined the design company acquisition party, with Facebook signing on top executives from Toronto’s Teehan Lax in January, and Google snatching up mobile app design firm Pixate this summer.
Terms of the deal for AKTA were not announced, but Roa, in a blog post, said he would continue to lead the company.
“Salesforce represents the epitome of customer driven innovation,” Roa wrote last Wednesday, when the deal was announced. “As part of Salesforce, we will be able to help bring customers’ vision to life with a truly novel combination of strategic leadership, design thinking, brand strategy, industry-leading engineering and software.
Roa is a serial entrepreneur who previously founded a video game marketing company in 2001. In this Inc. interview from last year, he says he had no design experience when he founded AKTA, but he learned how to delegate to people who did.
"The people here are very qualified," Roa said. "We're successful because I run it on their shoulders."
Reached by email, Roa said he was unable to comment for this story. In 2014, Akta had $6.2 million in annual revenue and 47 employees.