Accelerating startups that help businesses churn data

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This article is sponsored by Pitney Bowes Accelerator.

Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI) is a global technology company offering innovative products and solutions that enable commerce in the areas of customer information management, location intelligence, customer engagement, shipping and mailing, and global ecommerce. More than 1.5 million clients in approximately 100 countries around the world rely on products, solutions and services from Pitney Bowes. For additional information, visit Pitney Bowes at www.pb.com

Pranjal Jain has worked for more than 10 years for banks like HSBC and JP Morgan where he led the innovation team and implemented several big data projects. At the same time, Sonam Jain was working with leading telecom operators like AT&T, Verizon and Aeris to solve location based analytics problems. Coincidently, both were facing similar challenges of moving data from traditional data sources to big data and vice versa.

With every new data source they were adding, things got more complicated. This is where this husband-wife duo got talking and decided to become co-founders of Ideata Analytics which empowers users to seamlessly connect to different data sources (RDBMS, big data, streaming and flat files) and see what data is of interest, what is its value and how can it be brought into the mix with their proprietary data.

Using their suggestive visual interface, users can perform data wrangling and transformations without wiring complex ETL or coding. The application's drag-n-drop analytics and dash boarding engine allows users to look at insights on a continuous basis instead of waiting for weeks and months and relying on IT. And the users here are business owners. Giving a use case, Pranjal explains, "One of our users is interested in understanding the three TB of customer’s behavioural data collected from various mediums including, mobile, social media, web logs, transactions data etc. When all of this data is aggregated, analysed and acted upon, within two to four weeks they can start seeing benefits."

This is how big data is helping businesses of varying sizes across domains. There are many companies that help businesses to use data to increase customer acquisition, reduce customer churns and increase overall revenue per user. Solutions for businesses can be customised while there are generic products that can be used too.

For instance, Tagalys provides intelligent site search as a service for online retail. With "search" as a backbone, this startup provides additional value added features that drive user engagement and revenues. Founded by a team with experience in the digital commerce domain, Tagalys currently has customers such as eshakti.com and bedbathmore.com. Tagalys is a global product but the team has realised that the MVP is going to be different for different geographies. They've found a product market fit in India and are currently trying to find the same in other countries.

Another example can be GetFocus, a startup founded by four IIT Bombay alumni who have worked with companies like Deutsche Bank, SnapDeal and Aakash Tablet. This team is working on providing hardware free indoor navigation solutions for apps. "This will help apps provide more contextual offerings, and gain better insights about the behaviour of their users, in order to serve them better. All our services are provided via our SDK, which is integrated into the relevant app," says Prateek Chaturvedi, one of the co-founders.

All these startups have one thing in common - a strong B2B angle along with a focus on big data. And they are all a part of the Pitney Bowes Accelerator in India too. Pitney Bowes runs a six month program in India helping startups in the field of mobile, location based services, e-commerce management and data analytics to scale and grow. Pitney Bowes has in the past worked with technology giants like Twitter and IBM and is now getting actively engaged with startups too.

Pranjal from Ideata says, "Being a B2B enterprise product startup, we were sure that Pitney Bowes accelerator program would be of great help to us in doing a business idea validation and enterprise connect. Moreover, there were some synergies between Ideata Analytics' platform and PB's data and location services using which we have come up with some very interesting use cases together."

Founded in September 2012 by industry veterans from the mobile and advertising domains, Audianz is another company undergoing acceleration. It aims to change the way mobile commerce has been evangelized. Their technology targets user location and multiple other attributes to provide users with relevant ads ensuing higher ROIs for advertisers and maximum eCPMs for publishers while at the same time helping small businesses to grow and achieve scale.

Most of these companies work on a SaaS model where they charge customers according to a per user per month model and also have a services angle for customised requests. Since they are in a pretty early stage yet, revenues are still a bit far off to talk about but they're on their way. Audianz has been used by 50+ national brands and 1000+ small businesses are using the same currently in countries like Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada.

The vision is also pretty obscure since the world of big data itself is finding its shape. A word that became a buzz a couple of years ago is finally finding its space and companies that are able to productize their offerings at scale will go global. Tagalys co-founder Antony Kattukaran puts things into perspective, "It is premature to share the vision that we are building towards, but we exist in a space that has players like SLI, Nextopia and Klevu. One of the core differentiators why customers choose us is the flexibility in allowing Tagalys to adapt to a customer’s needs and the quality of our service. This is the state with many big data startups and it is only natural that over time, they'll take shape. Global product companies are being made out of India now and one can surely expect a few to come out of the crop of companies Pitney Bowes is accelerating.

Mr. Manish Choudhary, Vice President, Global Engineering and Managing Director, Pitney Bowes Software India said, “Pitney Bowes guides its clients through the complex worlds of digital and physical technologies to drive growth and create meaningful impact. Startups are vital to technology innovation and India is a hotbed of startups. The talent fostered through the Accelerator Program has the ability to develop disruptive technologies that can be scaled globally.”

The next batch of Pitney Bowes Accelerator starts end of April. To apply to the program, please write to indiaaccelerator@pb.com