Particular Audience raises $10m to break down data silos in eCommerce and help retailers take on Amazon

Published 2nd Dec 2021 by The PR Group
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Led by Australia’s leading SaaS investor EVP, the oversubscribed funding round received significant follow-on investment from existing investors Carthona Capital and early angels that lead other eCommerce tech cos including Dot Digital and Yotpo. 

 New investors joining the round include Sypkes and FiveV who have previously backed Australian unicorns Canva, Zoox and Aconex. Dan Szekely, Partner at EVP, joins the board alongside founder James Taylor and early seed investor Damian Fox (Carthona).

Growing revenue +460% YoY, Particular Audience’s platform powers product discovery on some of the world’s best known retail brands from Calvin Klein to Singapore Airlines, automating a different website for every customer.

“Our technology is capable of dynamically reranking any product list, search through recommendations, to drive relevancy to individual shoppers and unprecedented margin efficiency for merchants” Taylor explains, “within personalized and profitable merchandising, retailers using Particular Audience can also monetize clicks in the same way that Amazon’s sponsored products work”.

Amazon netted $29 billion from retail media advertising last year, and their ad business is deeply embedded within native product discovery, placing Particular Audience in an attractive position to service the rest of the online retail market, offering up a share of the rapidly growing retail media pie.

Founder and CEO James Taylor said that with the growth of eCommerce, people have more options. 

“If you have a million customers with unique intent, tastes and preferences, then you need a million versions of your website, however subtle, to make shopping experiences as relevant and convenient as possible. Our platform makes this easy.” So easy that Particular Audience is approaching $100m in gross merchandise value run rate, 19x growth in the last 2 years.

Within PA’s platform, retailers receive extensive inventory analytics, and can expose this to vendors, predicting demand and manage supply chains. Merchants can optimize inventory by promoting high margin or overstocked items within relevant journeys, maximising margins, increasing cash on hand and most importantly: reducing waste.

Users of PA’s platform get to tap into insights from PA’s consumer product, similarinc.com, providing internet scale visibility on what items are trending, in what regions, and how competitors are pricing to market. Similarinc.com’s eCommerce data network effect helps Particular Audience’s clients compete on price automatically and predict demand using data far larger than they have access to within their own business.

Less waste and lower costs mean better prices for the consumer.

Similarinc.com, a browser plugin, is an online community of shoppers and retailers contributing 100% anonymous real-time search, product price and availability data to help one another find the best prices in the fastest time possible. It is a data community making online navigation easier, similar to what Waze does for its users in the real world.

With one of the richest real-time shopping data sets in the world, Particular Audience saves online shoppers and merchants time and money, accurately predicting demand from over 1 billion first-party data points on its retail-focused machine learning platform. Every data point is 100% anonymous and cookie-free, positioning the company well ahead of privacy first trends and the coming deprecation of third party cookies.

“Effective personalization is more about understanding someone’s context, and less about understanding exactly who they are. One of the common misconceptions about effective personalization is that it should be about the customer’s data – and yet, predictions based on customer data are extremely unreliable,” James said. 

“Item orientated data is far more reliable when you consider what items get compared with one another, bought with one another, that look-alike or that share common attributes, pricing and price elasticity metrics are all available data and predictions in these areas based on large enough data sets are astoundingly accurate.”

The $10m round will see PA set to continue rapid international expansion with New York and Amsterdam offices joining Sydney, London and Vancouver units. The capital is also going into an API suite to open up the data network to more applications.

Daniel Szekely from EVP was first introduced to Particular Audience as a pre-revenue ‘idea’ back in 2018 and has kept in touch with the company since. 

Daniel said: “personalization of the internet is a critical frontier for ecommerce merchants. Delivering an experience which meets the needs of consumers is critical to a vendor’s efficiency and ultimately their bottom line. PA’s product suite tackles these issues in a novel way and the call-to-market for its solution is obvious. The business is already being pulled into multiple geographies globally by customers looking for solutions and the team is perfectly positioned to be the domination player in its market.”

Following a Seed raise of $1.7m in 2019, PA expanded to London (headed by Elizabeth Smith, formerly IKEA) and Vancouver in early 2021. Europe now makes up more than 50% of global revenue, with North America the highest growth territory. Additional offices in New York and Amsterdam are planned for early 2022 (headed by Lindsay Hatton and Paul Aguele). Stuart Johnson joined as VP Sales at the start of 2021 (formerly at Yoobic).

Carthona Capital has been invested since pre-revenue stage, “When we first invested in Particular Audience, our investment was all about the quality of the Founder, the size of the addressable market, and the thematics of personalization and machine learning in eCommerce,” Damian Fox from Carthona says. “This round however, is all about traction and metrics. It has been incredible to support Particular Audience as it continues to grow incredibly fast in a short period of time, especially in Europe and as it begins to target North America,”.

Particular Audience is creating a genuine data network effects business to power the future of eCommerce.

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