By Peter Nieh and Justin Caldbeck
As a firm, we focus our investments around key concepts or themes that we think will disrupt markets, create new ones and significantly improve the ways we live and work – themes like Flash Storage, Social Commerce and Big Data.
Long before the term Big Data became as widely used as it is today, we’ve been investing in companies that not only make Big Data analytics possible but also in companies that are apply the technology to solve specific consumer and business challenges, like consumer lending (ZestFinance) , IT monitoring (Boundary), and energy efficiency (Nest).
The marketing sector is another industry that is benefiting from Big Data technology. We have long believed that data-driven marketing can drive tremendous results for businesses. We were one of the original investors in DoubleClick (online advertising). We were also the original investors in MyBuys, which uses Big Data infrastructure to comb through vast amounts of click data to personalize recommendations, emails and advertisements to consumers. One of our latest investments in this area is BloomReach.
BloomReach addresses what is at the heart of what has made the Internet so revolutionary: allowing consumers and providers of goods, services, and content to find each other. All the big outcomes in the Internet – Google, Amazon, eBay, iTunes, Netflix – address this opportunity at their essence. However, over time as the Web continues to explode, consumers are having a more difficult time finding what they want. It’s a huge problem, creating tremendous friction–consumers are frustrated by needing to comb through pages and pages to find what they want. Meanwhile businesses struggle to reach consumers with mounting customer acquisition costs.
BloomReach addresses this core problem by leveraging the power of Big Data to analyze a Web site’s content in the context of consumer behavior and all the content on the Web. BloomReach is then able to algorithmically and dynamically organize a site’s content in a way that it can be found most optimally. BloomSearch, its initial product, has increased natural search traffic for customers like Neiman Marcus and William Sonoma by an average of over 90%.
The company is planning to deliver additional products over time to address the core problem of demand finding supply on the Internet. By applying transformational technology to this fundamental challenge, we believe BloomReach is poised to become an essential part of the Internet ecosystem.
I first heard of BloomReach from an early beta customer that raved about the product. We fell in love with the company and the team and led their Series B financing in October 2010. It turned out that Justin, who joined Lightspeed just a few months later, had collaborated with Ajay Agarwal at Bain Capital Ventures to help develop the company in its early days. Justin knew co-founder & CEO Raj de Datta from business school and introduced him to co-founder & CTO Ashutosh Garg.
We are proud to continue our support as the company raises its next round of funding and look forward to continuing to work with Raj, Ashutosh and the rest of the team as they make it happen.
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