Most data analytic companies access troves of structured and unstructured data to help organizations make decisions on improving their efficiency and market reach. But there is also a Billion Dollar Unicorn Club member Palantir Technologies that is taking data analytics to the next level. Their work is extremely secretive, but it is helping government and financial agencies ensure safety of citizens and their customers.
Sramana Mitra: Interesting. In 2007, you said you were at about $5 million in revenue?
Janine Popick: Around that time, yes.
Sramana Mitra: You have just raised that $1.2 million friends and family round. You haven’t raised any more money beyond that? Are you profitable at this point?
Janine Popick: Yes, we’re profitable at this point.
Sramana Mitra: In 2007, what was happening?
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Sramana Mitra: Was the product you developed acceptable within the Indian regulatory system?
Ambarish Gupta: Yes. We solved the problem for India. Most of the emerging markets have the same regulations, which is VoIP is not allowed. We spent our first year developing the first PSTN cloud telephony platform in the world. That was a big breakthrough for us.
But we ran out of money. So, I went back to the US to some of my friends in New York who had made good money in hedge funds We were able to raise convertible-backed half a million dollars and used that to launch a hosted EPBX product in 2011. >>>
Sramana Mitra: Besides geography, what other parameters do you personalize on?
Darren Hill: For a lot of our fashion clients, we personalize on sizes. For instance, if you have come to the website and you’ve looked for a specific pair of shoes, we’ll actually tag your account and we’ll know what shoe size you are. So the next time you look at shoes, we will filter and sort that specific shoe category. We will make sure that the shoes at the top are available and are in sizes that you indicated that you were interested in. That simple little tweak can increase the conversion rate by about double for specific clients. That is pretty significant.
Sramana Mitra: What else in fashion is interesting in terms of personalization? I’ve started one of the first Internet fashion companies about 15 years ago. I know this category cold. What are you seeing in terms of trends? I’m a big believer in online >>>
According to a report from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing and 42% found content marketing an effective marketing tool. Here is how Manhattan-based Billion Dollar Unicorn club member Outbrain has become a leading content discovery platform in the market.
Sramana Mitra: What was the competitive landscape when it came to keywords in AdWords. It sounds like that was a major channel and that did become very competitive.
Janine Popick: Brutal.
Sramana Mitra: Absolutely, brutal is the word.
Janine Popick: You’re competing with people who can spend a lot more money. That’s what it comes down to. Any of these guys are getting $10,000 to $100,000 a month from their customers. We’re getting either free or $10 a month. It’s one of the reasons why Vertical Response decided to release a freemium product to let the freemium do the marketing for us. We launched that product a year and a half ago. We needed to compete. It was fine in 2005 to 2007. These days, the term email marketing is brutal. >>>
Sramana Mitra: Whom did you raise money from and what was the process of raising money?
Ambarish Gupta: Initially, I and my co-founder just put in 10-15 lakh [1-1.5 million] rupees to build the infrastructure. We had built up a small platform and were struggling to find some takers. We didn’t really want to raise money immediately. The Chief Minister of Orissa Naveen Patnaik was campaigning for elections. He wanted to be able to call 70 lakh [7 million] people in 10 days. We were able to demonstrate our ability call 10,000 people in a day but the requirement was for 70,000 calls in a day. We were able to get the order from the political party but in the next 10 days we went from one server to ten servers. >>>