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Successful Pivots: Anthony Ferry, CEO of PriceSpider (Part 4)

Posted on Saturday, Mar 17th 2018

Sramana Mitra: The technology you got from Jon was a separate company and not part of Neudesic?

Anthony Ferry: That is currently a separate company. That’s the company that I’m currently the CEO of. It was formed upon the acquisition of that technology. He had built a very ingenious crawling engine for data acquisition across the web, specifically targeted towards retails products being offered for sale on the web.

We brought that in-house and incubated that for a few years. We brought to market a series of reports to manufacturers to help them understand their pricing presence in the marketplace. We produced numerous other types of reports on the data that we were able to crawl off the web.

Our customers in that regard were purely manufacturers. The initial focus was on consumer electronics product manufacturers. We grew that service offering quite fast. We did have a point in time where we ventured off to a consumer solution with a comparison shopping engine. We did that for a few years.

We were moderately successful but determined that the challenges of being competitive in that space were going to take a lot of capital to maintain your rankings within Google. It wasn’t an investment we were ready to make. Google was changing their algorithms frequently and it was very difficult to stay top of mind in the natural search result. We scrapped that idea and moved back to our B2B.

Right about that time, we came across the opportunity to build what became our killer app which is the Where To Buy solution. If you are looking at Sony’s products, a little button pops up that says, “Where to Buy.” That’s the service that we provide. It shows a consumer where they can purchase that product.

Sramana Mitra: This is now a B2B app.

Anthony Ferry: Correct.

Sramana Mitra: What sized deals are we talking about?

Anthony Ferry: Depending on what services they were consuming from us whether it was a simple report or a globally-deployed Where To Buy solution, our services could range from $1,000 to tens of thousands of dollars a month. It really depends on the complexity of that deployment and how specific or custom that solution was for that customer.

Sramana Mitra: Can you elaborate on how you found this pivot from a B2C angle to this kind of a B2B angle?

Anthony Ferry: When the company first started, it was B2B. When PriceSpider launched, we were scouring the web for data. What we found to be the most interested audience was the manufacturers. It’s a very competitive landscape out there in the e-commerce world. The manufacturers are very competitive and looking to have an understanding of how their pricing stacked up against the competitors. They wanted to know who was offering their products and at what price or who was offering at a price that they were not authorized to sell it at.

We had some relationships with some consumer electronics companies that are right here in Southern California that helped to prove that value proposition. We landed a couple really quickly. Word got out as far as the data that we had. We were able to simply sell a subscription to that data specific to the manufacturer’s product right back to them. In some cases, they were more interested in their competitor’s products and prices. We would sell them that too. It really was a natural progression from that discovery.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Successful Pivots: Anthony Ferry, CEO of PriceSpider
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