[Tech30] FirstHive uses machine learning to help companies understand their customers better


Bengaluru-based Tech30 startup FirstHive helps build unique customer identities by systematically putting together data from all sources of customer interactions and transactions.

Knowing the customer is one of the top priorities for any business. In the age of mobile and social media, companies can now interact with customers across social networking portals, customer care service on phone and chat, and physical points of sale. Too many channels of interaction, however, create the problem of plenty - in short, a large dump of data that companies need to make sense of to leverage.

FirstHive founder Aditya Bhamidipaty

FirstHive offers to help right here. Founded by Aditya Bhamidipaty, this Bengaluru-based Tech30 startup has a customer data platform that helps get meaningful analysis from the many points of customer interaction. It is a MarTech startup with a cross-channel B2C customer engagement and marketing automation product.

It is helping companies with large digital intensities by bringing a unified view of their customer data. A unified customer identity helps a company have a platform or a system of intelligence that can optimise things like choice of channel, a time of nudge, etc.

An IIM Ahmedabad alumnus with an engineering background, Aditya wanted to start something of his own. Having worked with organisations like P&G and eMart solutions in India and Europe, he understood the opportunities available in the consumer market from both sides of the table.

FirstHive’s USP lies in connecting all the dots of every single tool and channel– both structured and unstructured, online and offline - to a unified channel using machine learning.

Its algorithm automatically collates customer information on the basis of transactions and interactions with the company brand across channels. The patented algorithm then tags unique behaviour of each shopper. This enables companies to build powerful first-party data repository to ensure relevant messaging and yield higher conversions from campaigns.

Today, around 24 companies including ICICI Bank, Mars Incorporated, Franklin Templeton, and Essilor use FirstHive to unify customer interactions. Its clientele includes companies from various industries like BFSI, retail, FMCG and digital.

FirstHive founder Aditya Bhamidipaty at TechSparks

The company offers a subscription model to its clients with three key pricing components - one-time configuration, monthly platform license and consumables used from the platform.

Founded in 2016, Aditya says the biggest challenge was to build the right product and find the right team. Currently, FirstHive has a team of 35. “To constitute the right team and then use them to deliver its vision and opportunity properly was a big task. But we have got some big leaders in product and technological market to anchor the product now,” he says.

FirstHive's market

According to Aditya, the marketing tech industry is relatively new in India and might be the only trillion dollar industry with a ‘90 percent leaky bucket’.

With an increase in channels and tools and with a change in consumer behaviour, he believes the data needs to be compounded. “There is no way to understand who the customers are, and what they do with the data,” he says.

He claims that although there are more than 7,000 tools in marketing technology, the problem of ‘leaky bucket’ hasn’t been solved.“It is important to look at the events we are handling, and the impact we have been delivering,” explains Aditya.

Since 2016, the company claims to have grown 15-20x in terms of scale of customer events or interactions. It charges its customers depending on the number of products being integrated, and number of events being managed.

While companies from various industries are charged similarly, the pricing for digital companies is different. FirstHive charges the latter between $40,000 and $200,000 per year. Last year, FirstHive raised $1 million from undisclosed investor (s), and claims to be cash positive and will turn net profitable this year.

While FirstHive currently focusses on India and Asia-Pacific, it plans to kick off in the US in future. It also aims to change its marketing strategy in order to reach more customers.

Other players in this space include Zarget, Marketing 360, Segment and Listrak.



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