Imagine a world with 9 billion people forming the largest marketplace ever seen. Imagine the Internet of Things being able to identify and locate every product on this planet, in real time – forming the largest inventory of goods. Imagine the potential. However, with that potential comes challenges. The first challenge is gathering sales data, or in other words, analytics.
Enter Reflektion. Reflektion is a company that engages in analytics as well as back end predictive technology. In other words, they scour a market for behavior data and then predict what a customer is going to buy next. As far as optimization goes, this is a whole new ball game. It’s called the Predictive Analytics Platform and Reflektion has just received $8 million in Series B venture funds from the likes of Intel Ventures and Nike, plus a few other smaller investors. This is the epitome of big data; and to make sure they build it perfectly, Reflektion has hired and retained people from the world of big data, like Google and Oracle.
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Predicting What Consumers Will Buy Next
The Platform scours and detects trends from customer behavior, not just keywords but actual actions, and then makes the prediction on what they are about to act on, or purchase, next. Once it does that, the rest is a matter of offering a product to them. And apparently it works. Retailers using the software have reported seeing an increase in per-visit revenue with Reflektion’s system, soon after it was set up.
The Company is headed by Sean Moran, who has extensive experience in heading startups and preparing them for market acceptance. He is an expert at tactical development and is adept at SaaS models – which means he is ideally suited to herald Reflektion into the mainstream.
Strengths and Weaknesses
What I like about this company is that you have some very astute Series B investors, Nike and Intel, taking a vested interest. If Nike is coming in at this stage, it is easy to deduce that they see some benefit to this kind of predictive analytics. Remember, they are in the retail business as well. A full scale buyout in the future is not too far fetched.
Predictive technology, and the emergence of it, is fairly new. Those who get here first – with a good product – are going to be able to write their own ticket for some time to come. They will be able to create the landscape and dictate the trends.
Another strength I see with this company is that there is so much room to grow and adapt the technology. Predictive analytics is in its infancy, and its growth will result in off shoots of the product and ways to use it. Already, it is able to increase revenues for customers who are using it, imagine what it can do when it goes beyond. Imagine what Google could do with it by applying it to its search engines, or what Amazon could do with it for its marketplace.
The disadvantage of this company is that its public relations efforts are rather silent. This may be intentional, but I see it as a mistake. Reflektion must educate the public on what it is doing. This is a technology that will help both the commercial enterprise which uses it to make more sales, and also the consumer, by helping them find products of interest, quicker. It’s not just advertising of the product that needs to happen, people need to get comfortable with branding and presence. Given the recent issues surrounding privacy, transparency will be key with this technology. Reflektion must demonstrate how it helps the consumer in order for the consumer to trust and help improve the technology.
Key Success Factors
The main issue with technologies that take the market by storm is that they often lose steam and fall flat. Most of the time this is because their R&D team has one idea, and that’s it. They improve on the one idea and they milk it – never taking it to the next level. However, I do not see this happening to Reflektion. One of the co-founders, Hamid Savoj, is a serial innovator and is interested in solving complex solutions; based on his track record, it looks like there will be an inspired technical team that will keep pushing past their first success.
Another key for Reflektion will be to advance partnerships with major players in the retail business. Having Nike as an investor serves this purpose and allows Fortune 500 companies to take Reflektion seriously.
All in all there is an interesting story to glean from Reflektion. They have an ingenious product that has caught the attention of some major players; and what’s more, the product has shown credible results for some major brand names. This is a golden opportunity for the company to capitalize on and advance their pace aggressively. Being first to market will allow Reflektion to dictate the future of how consumers are catered to.