According to Vipin Jain, CEO, Retrevo “is a web service that helps consumers with shopping and support of tech products. Retrevo is your trusted advisor throughout the lifecycle ownership of tech products, from education, research, deals, price comparison, getting the best out of the products you bought, accessorizing, using, fixing issues to servicing your products. Retrevo is the only company that helps consumers before and after“. [You can read Vipin’s interview here to get the business story of this company.]
The Before is obvious, and similar to what we have seen in Wize and TheFind. You look for a product, research features, shop for the best prices, and make a final buying decision. It is the After that I find interesting in the case of Retrevo, which is also their key differentiator.
Using clustering and classification algorithms, Retrevo’s AI engine can synthesize large volumes of documents. The engine is trained by feeding an intial training set to the learning machine. The machine can then synthesize the document, including split up a large document into smaller blocks, to extract the essence.
Thus, once you have bought, say, a Camera, you can easily and efficiently look up how to hook it up to your TV. Then, if the picture is blurry, you can figure out why.
In Consumer Electronics, especially, this kind of support function is very useful. However, while the Before business model is obvious (CPC, referral fees), the After business model is less obvious. CPM Advertising? Sponsorships? It seems to me, that the company runs the risk of providing its most interesting functionality for free, which I don’t like at all.