Bluecore Gets $21M for Big Data on Consumer Behavior for Marketers
Promising to crunch terabytes of behavioral data on consumers into something useful might sound like digital wizardry and rainmaking, but Bluecore is trying to do just that to help marketers.
The New York-based company turns information about what customers look up when they visit brands’ websites into a way to target marketing messages. Bluecore CEO and co-founder Fayez Mohamood says if someone searches for new televisions at an e-tailer, when the brand they took interest in goes on sale, they automatically get an e-mail about the discounts. They might also get alerts when products are restocked. Naturally, consumers must opt-in with the brands to get such messages, he says. “We’re not talking about high volume messages,” he says. “We’re talking about targeted messages a customer may get once per week.”
He also sees this type of service reducing the amount of e-mails brands send out to reach customers who are getting serious about making a purchase. “We are on a path to seeing retailers send less messages, but have them be more targeted,” Mohamood says.
Some of the brands Bluecore works with include Staples, BCBG, Express, and Cabela’s. So far, Bluecore’s software has primarily been used in e-tailing, but Mohamood says his company plans to pursue other use cases, thanks to new funding.
This week, Bluecore announced it raised $21 million in a Series B funding round led by Georgian Partners. FirstMark Capital, Felicis Ventures, and other prior investors participated. It is the largest round for Bluecore to date, with its total funding at $28.2 million since its founding in 2013.
In addition to exploring potential new industries to operate in, Mohamood says Bluecore plans to grow its staff of 63 to 130 by this time next year. The company had 15 employees just one year ago, he says.
There is a lot of marketing software available that tries to figure out what consumers want. SocialCentiv in Dallas TX, for instance, sifts through social media feeds to get some sense of what people are interested in. Mohamood says Bluecore focuses instead on the intent consumers show when they go to a site to look at price changes on products, make online wish lists, and even when they add items to online shopping carts—but do not take the plunge right away. “All of that is intent to making a potential purchase,” he says.
That kind of purchase intent sets Bluecore’s software in motion to send out alerts for the brands. “These are triggered messages that marketers wanted to do, but it was difficult to do on top of traditional marketing technology,” he says.
Mohamood, an engineer by trade, says he previously worked at MathWorks in Boston and Seattle-based gamification and loyalty startup BigDoor. He and Bluecore co-founder Mahmoud Arram had separately developed several software products for loyalty programs connected to mobile apps. Their work eventually led to the creation of their own company.
Bluecore simplifies the process for marketers of sending automated, targeted messages, Mohamood says, by making it a matter of adding a line of code. Part of his pitch is the software is simpler to get up and running than more complex integration with other systems that might rely on a data analyst or other tech person to figure for the marketer what they should act upon. “Underneath Bluecore is an automation platform that ingests all kinds of data really quickly and makes sense of it on the fly,” Mohamood says.
That platform could be used in other industries, such as hotel and travel bookings, he says, though Bluecore is not committing just yet to pursuing those avenues. In addition to customer behavior, Bluecore also processes product data, such as fluctuations in price and levels of inventory, which could be applied to the travel industry, Mohamood says.
Regardless of which markets the company tries to expand into next, he says the latest round of capital is integral to the development of the company. “It’s really to invest in infrastructure for processing data, for machine learning, and all the things we need to do at scale,” he says.