Technology has fundamentally changed the way we shop forever, and I don't just mean that it has allowed us to shop for goods and services directly from our homes. It has also helped brick and mortar retailers gain better insights into how customers shop, as well as how to get them the best deals, with companies like Retailigence and Swirl leading the way.
In short, both physical and online retailers have benefited from these recent advancements.
Yet, there is one piece of puzzle that is currently missing: no one has yet been able to create one database for every product, so that consumers can easily do price comparison shopping and businesses can easily see how they are stacking up against their competitors.
SaaS and Big Data product intelligence platform Indix wants to be the company that finally does it. And now the company just got a new influx of funding to make it happen, announcing in a blog post on Wednesday that it has raised $8.5 million of a $9 million Series A-1 round of financing. The round was co-led by Avalon Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners.
As for the other $500,000, Indix has commitments from other existing investors for the remainder of the round, but decided to have two closings for administrative reasons, Shalendra Chhabra, Director of Marketing at Indix, told me. The second closing has not occurred yet but is expected to take place in the near term.
Indix has previously raised a $1.4 million seed round, and a $4.5 million Series A, bringing the company's total capital to $14.4 million. Once the company closes the rest of the round, it will be up to $14.9 million.
Founded in 2010 by former Microsoft, VP Sanjay Parthasarathy, Indix offers a product intelligence application for brands and retailers, as well as APIs for products, prices, promotions, stores and more to power business systems and consumer apps.
"We want to build a database of product info, because nothing like that that exists today," Chhabra said. "Brands want to deliver the right product, to the right customer, at the right time, but there is no database to tap into."
When a business uses Indix, they get an easy to use platform that allows them to look at their own product assortment, as well as those of their competitors, in real time. That way, the brands and retailers can understand how they are performing in respect to the competition in terms of price, channels, what they have in stock, what they have out of stick, product availability, as well as promotions and social reviews.
Chhabra compared how Indix connects apps with products in the same way that Facebook connects apps with people, and how Google Maps connects apps with locations.
"Businesses have thousands of queues and competitors, and they don’t have the scale to do this on their own," said Chhabra. "We allow businesses to get access to the right product assortment, trends, prices, and attributes of the product and analyze at scale. That way they can tailor their offerings and stay competitive."
Of course, getting this kind of information helps the business boost its margins, but it also helps the consumer, who benefit from the more competitive prices.
Indix itself does not work directly on the consumer side of the business, but it does allow third-party developers to build product-aware apps based on its API and database of products. And that opens up numerous possibilities for how the database could be tapped into.
For example, someone could use the database to create an app where someone could take a picture of a piece of clothing their friend is wearing and automatically see where to get it at the right price. Or they could take a picture of their belongings and goods to figure out how to price them for insurance.
Chhabra could even seen a business, which has both a physical presence and an online app, using the database for targeted push advertising, though he says that none of Indix's customers have so far used the API for that.
The $8.5 million that has been raised will go toward scaling its research and development, as well as building an on-site sales team in its Seattle office, as well as hiring at least 10 to 15 new engineers and developers in its office in Chennai, India.
"We want to build ecosystem of API supported third party developers to build consumer product aware apps," Chhabra told me.
Indix's current customers include some of the world’s top 50 Internet brands and retailers, with more than 50,000 brands in the system. It has more than 250 million product URLS in the platform already, and 10,000 product attributes, including color, size, and the way the product was designed.