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1Mby1M Incubation Radar 2013: VOZIQ, Washington, D.C.

Posted on Monday, Dec 16th 2013

VOZIQ is a social media analytics company with a special focus on voice-of-the-customer analytics. It leverages large volumes of customer perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes expressed on social media platforms to provide actionable insights. Within two years of its founding, the business is cash-flow positive. It is targeting $1 million in revenue next year.

VOZIQ was founded in 2011 by Dr. Vasudeva Akula and a fellow IT professional. Vasu spent more than 15 years in the consulting field, working with over 100 Fortune 500 companies. He realized that most companies were buying advanced analytics and business intelligence solutions but not getting the maximum value out of them. Sensing an untapped opportunity, the pair built the VOZIQ platform focusing on social media analytics. VOZIQ transforms the voice of the customer, the voice of the client’s competitors, and the voice of industry influencers into actionable scenario-based information that can be used in managing the customer experience, improving product and service quality, and enhancing marketing effectiveness.

Initially, VOZIQ targeted businesses in the travel and hospitality, retail, technology, financial services, and mobile/telecom industries that generate high volumes of social media conversations. VOZIQ offered its platform on a complimentary basis for more than a year so that it could analyze the data based on actual customer needs. This allowed the company to fully understand the value of social media customer opinions, and what businesses are trying to accomplish with such data. This process also allowed it to perfect its industry-specific lexicon development, which is vital for analyzing unstructured data in a business context.

Today, it helps businesses integrate internal voice-of-customer data with social media data and create larger data sets to identify areas for improving customer experience. It also helps B2B businesses track competitor and influencer activities for content development and marketing activities.

What sets VOZIQ apart from other social media and voice-of-customer analytics companies is that it works with its clients to understand their key business objectives, analyze their customer data in that context, and develop insights that can be tied to their objectives.

VOZIQ follows a freemium pricing model. It provides various analytics at no charge, including sentiment and industry-specific categorization and reporting on Twitter data, with some limits on the amount of data provided per month. As it continues to build its primary technology product on its SaaS platform, it does not plan to price it at least till the first half of 2014.

It generates revenue from a few of its freemium customers by extending support for their analytical needs. VOZIQ offers the professional services of its big data analysts at $40-$75 per hour. Its custom reporting and analysis services range from $2,000-$5,000 per month depending on the volume of data processed and the complexity and nature of the problems addressed.

The initial target total addressable market (TAM)is based on U.S. businesses with annual revenues between $50 million-$500 million in sectors discussed above. According to its research, there are 15,000 businesses in these segments. Assuming that 50% of these are potential customers each paying $75,000 on an average for the product plus service combination. This translates into an initial target TAM of more than $500 million. The company believes that after bootstrapping within these fields, expansion toward the top end of the fortune 2000 businesses can take it into TAM of more than $1 billion.

VOZIQ was bootstrapped with seed funding of $100,000 from the founders. The founders maintained their day jobs and carried out product development work during evenings and weekends. Today, it is a profitable, positive cash-flow business and leverages low-cost talent through freelancers and tightly managed product development.

Being a social media analytics company, the company is leveraging social media platforms, primarily Twitter, to generate leads among its early adopters. For lead generation, they experimented with Google AdWords, outbound calling and few other strategies, all of which proved expensive vis-à-vis returns. The company has now shifted to an inbound marketing strategy by leveraging blog + social media + email marketing strategy, which is proving to be valuable.

While consulting and analytical services will remain the basis of its bootstrapping strategy, VOZIQ plans to generate revenue through two additional strategies, a SaaS product that customers can use on a self-service basis and market research and industry analysis reports. During 2014, VOZIQ plans to transition from beta to a paid SaaS product and take its initial reports to market. It would also triple its services team, mostly out of India, and offer attractive price points to businesses in North America.

Vasu says the company is not actively looking for investments. Regarding an exit, he says it is very premature as this is the first year of transition from deficit funding to positive cash flow. It will need a couple of years more to grow its product and big-data analytical services sides. In the future, VOZIQ might be open to selected acquisitions where its product and analytical services focus can enhance pure-play service or product companies.

Interestingly, the company has already started receiving M&A and investment offers!

This segment is a part in the series : 1Mby1M Incubation Radar 2013

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