Burlington, MA-based Mzinga, which provides social networking, community, and e-learning solutions for the enterprise, is today announcing that it has acquired Prospero. Prospero is itself a provider of enterprise community solutions, but where Mzinga mainly deals with corporate social networks, Prospero’s product line focuses on the consumer side of community building. The combined company will become a market leader in the enterprise community space, with 1 billion pages served per month across 14,000 communities.
Mzinga launched in November of last year when corporate e-learning company Knowledge Planet and web community provider Shared Insight merged. The company provides standard social networking fare for use in corporate environments, including blogs, wikis, profiles, forums, calendars, polls, etc. Though Mzinga does power some consumer facing sites (such as the customer community for WebEx), they mainly focus on corporate communities and e-learning.
Karen Leavitt, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Mzinga, told us that one of the main demographics being served by their enterprise customers is baby boomers. With many of these older employees about to retire, companies are faced with a dilemma: how to retain that outgoing knowledge. Mzinga uses corporate communities and e-learning to extract and preserve that knowledge. By using social media tools that younger workers are already familiar with, Leavitt told us, Mzinga’s approach helps to assure continuity during periods of turnover in the workplace.
Prospero, on the other hand, which was founded in 2000, is a leading provider of consumer-facing community solutions. Among Prospero’s clients are every major US television network, ESPN, Amazon.com, iVillage, Hallmark, BusinessWeek, and Major League Baseball.
The presentation that Mzinga and Prospero showed us seemed to be very Prospero-heavy, and we can’t blame them. Prospero’s work is just sexier. While Mzinga was nearly profitable out of the gate providing social networks to corporations, and the combined company expects to see over $30 million in revenue in 2008, Prospero’s portfolio makes better eye candy.
We also got the impression that going forward, Prospero’s community platform will take the lead at Mzinga for social media, while Mzinga will continue providing its e-learning suite focused on corporate deployments. Prospero’s platform consists of six main component applications: social networking, message boards, article commenting, live chats, ratings and reviews, and blogs. Each can be deployed via templates (i.e., built directly into an exist page’s layout), widgets, or an API.
The two Massachusetts-based companies seem to be a good fit, and combined they’ll have 125 enterprise customers, reaching 27 million unique users. The acquisition also adds 150 new employees to Mzinga’s workforce.