BOSTON, MA — September 3, 2019 — Drift, the leading conversational marketing platform, today announced the acquisition of Giant Otter and the launch of Drift Automation.

Giant Otter was led by Jeff Orkin, Ph.D., who has been developing AI systems to understand human behavior and language for over 20 years. As CEO of Giant Otter, Dr. Orkin built on research he conducted at the MIT Media Lab. Prior to MIT, Dr. Orkin spent a decade working in the video game industry and led the development of award-winning Artificial Intelligence systems for multiple titles while at Warner Bros.

As part of the acquisition, Dr. Orkin and his team joined Drift and formed the Drift AI Lab. While on-stage at HYPERGROWTH 2019, Drift founders David Cancel and Elias Torres unveiled the first product built out of the AI Lab: Drift Automation. Drift Automation understands the specific context of what someone is asking and can engage in conversations that go in a variety of directions. For the first time, this puts the customer is in control of the conversation — not the chatbot.

“At Drift, we think a lot about customer experience. And we realized that we needed to disrupt ourselves at Drift in order to really deliver on it,” said David Cancel. “Giant Otter’s machine learning and AI technology helped us build do just that, and build on the mission we created four years ago — to transform the way businesses buy from businesses.”

Drift Automation is a complete solution that delivers the results the customer wants. With Drift Automation, customers get:

  • An AI engine custom built for their business. Drift’s AI learns by analyzing the conversations prospects are having on a website and is constantly optimizing itself to improve the customer experience. Drift Automation works across all Drift Playbooks and for unlimited conversations on a website.
  • Direct access to conversation designers who make sure customers get the results they want. Drift’s conversation designers will work directly with customers to train the AI engine with the conversations happening on a website, review them with the customer and monitor the bot to ensure it delivers results through a better customer experience.
  • Access to Drift’s conversation analysis tool so customers can search and monitor conversations. This way, customers can act on the insights and improve the customer experience.

“When I met Jeff Orkin and he showed me what Giant Otter could do, I knew that I had seen the future of marketing automation,” said Elias Torres. “We’ve been working on Drift Automation with early customers who have been seeing incredible results — including improvements in inbound sales velocity, pipeline and revenue growth, time back for the marketing team, and the ability to put the customer in control of the buying experience.”

Rob Stevenson from Keap, an early Drift Automation customer, joined Elias on stage to share the following results:

  • A 50% increase in sales pipeline in the first 50 days using Drift Automation.
  • The ability to move 17 SDRs off chat and automated website chat qualification in order to focus on booking meetings.
  • A 70% conversation rate of leads from Drift Automation into opportunities (compared to 7% for their PPC campaigns).

Giant Otter marks the third acquisition for Drift. The company announced the acquisition of Siftrock a Seattle-based company that focuses on email reply management, which helped build Email Bot, at HYPERGROWTH 2018. And earlier this year, Drift acquired HYFY to power Drift Video, the company’s video platform built to start conversations and make B2B buying easy.

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About Drift

Drift is the new way businesses buy from businesses. With its quickly evolving set of tools and playbooks, Drift is the world’s leading conversational marketing platform, trusted by top enterprise businesses like Ellie Mae, GrubHub, InVision, Marketo, MongoDB, Okta, Outreach, Eventbrite, Vidyard, and over 50,000 other businesses. Sales and marketing teams rely on Drift to connect now with the customers who are ready to buy now. Based in Boston, Drift was founded by serial marketing technology entrepreneurs David Cancel and Elias Torres and is backed by leading venture capitalists including CRV, General Catalyst, and Sequoia. Learn more at

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Lacey Berrien
Senior Manager, Public Relations

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