It’s hard to believe that it has been 4 ½ years since the founding of Bloomreach. At that time I was working at Bain Capital Ventures, having just moved from Boston to spearhead the launch of their West Coast Office. I was working out of a Regus Center in downtown Palo Alto, trying to find a potential founder for an idea that we were trying to hatch around turning search engine optimization (SEO), that at the time was entirely services-based, into a product-based solution that improved the quality of the customer’s website to drive additional high quality traffic and new customers to online retailers and brands in a largely automated way. It was at that time that I reconnected with Raj De Datta, a fantastically talented repeat entrepreneur with whom I had gone to Harvard Business School from 2001-2003.
I’ll never forget the months that we spent in that Regus Center working out the idea and talking to potential customers about the space, the problems they were having finding “white hat” or credible natural search solutions that Google supported and the opportunity that a company who could productize such an offering would have.
I’ll also never forget all of the potential technical co-founders that we talked to who never seemed to be a perfect fit. We were never “Wowed” by any of them and many said that it couldn’t be done. That is, until we met Ashutosh Garg. By all accounts, he is an incredibly special individual who had spent time as a core Search quality engineer at Google and immediately understood what we were trying to do and had conviction he could build it. In fact, he went home that weekend and in his spare time, built a tool that was able to give us a rough sense for the size of the opportunity just for the online store of a large coffee chain. It was both further support for the business opportunity and a glimpse into the genius of Ashutosh. Together, he and Raj have built an amazing business and culture at Bloomreach over the last 4 years.
Lightspeed invested in Bloomreach and Peter Nieh joined the board in 2010 before I joined Lightspeed; so while I moved from Bain to Lightspeed in 2011, I have been able to continue my support for the company and track their tremendous growth and innovation, including the launch of Bloomreach Mobile which the company announced today: http://techcrunch.com/2013/07/15/bloomreach-mobile/
Congrats to Raj, Ashutosh and the rest of the Bloomreach team on their exciting next chapter and for developing a truly an amazing Mobile product. This will help the nearly 100 large retailers that they work with today and many, many more drive a highly relevant experience for their customers and a meaningful increase in conversion and revenue.
I’m proud to call them both friends, to have been there from the very beginning and to continue supporting them in their continued movement toward being the pre-eminent big-data driven marketing company for e-commerce and mobile commerce.