Ural-based angels invest in innovative Finnish online-offline retail analytics
29 Apr '13
Walkbase, a Finnish start-up that has developed an innovative retail analytics solution, has received a seed capital injection from Russian and Scandinavian investors after four years of R&D. Neither the amount of the round nor the company’s valuation has been disclosed.
East-West Digital News, the international resource on Russian digital industries, reported late last week that the investors include Leonid Gluzman and Leonid Volkov, two Russian business angels, and Jan Blomquist, a board member of Scandinavian health food retail chain Life.
Special sensors installed at the retailer’s premises – the key hardware component of Walkbase’s project – are said to capture signals transmitted from any WiFi-enabled gadget that shoppers have with them while they walk around inside or near the store. The retailer can then tap into the start-up’s proprietary cloud-based analytics platform to analyze the data and perceive general foot traffic patterns showing how shoppers move within a physical store, where they stop and for how long, whether they come back to certain areas, etc.
Video- or sensor-based traffic measurement solutions for offline retailers did exist before Walkbase, but the Finnish technology, in addition to being “tens or hundreds times more affordable,” according to Gluzman, is said to be the first ever to measure online-to-offline conversions.
“Walkbase can identify visitors who have clicked on a mobile ad before visiting a shop,” Gluzman said in an exchange with East-West Digital News. “This is just the beginning of a long, but extremely promising way toward offline-online marketing integration,” he believes.
Anticipating any breach of privacy worries, Walkbase emphasizes that sensitive data is encoded, anonymized and is therefore made “non-personal.”
Walkbase focuses on retail customers, in particular fashion, automotive, electronics, department stores and mobile phone retailers. In addition, the company is completing a large installation at a major Nordic airport.
Gluzman and Volkov are businessmen from Ekaterinburg, in the Ural region. Volkov is a start-up advisor at Yandex, Russia’s search giant. He invested in Walkbase through Projector Ventures, his seed stage IT-focused venture fund with ten projects invested but no exit yet. Prior to Walkbase, Projector Ventures predominantly worked with projects in its geographical area.
A serial entrepreneur and seed investor, Leonid Gluzman founded NadoVmeste.ru, a group buying website, which he sold in 2010. He is also the former general manager of daily deal site Kupikupon.ru.