Why this Google engineer, tech investor duo decided to focus on commerce cloud space with Bloomreach
Cloud commerce startupbegan its journey with a simple idea — improve customer experience.
When the startup was born in 2009, neither social media sites were as lively as they are now nor the ecommerce space was as mature. However, the internet was rapidly changing. For founders Ashutosh Garg and Raj De Datta, who were witnessing the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), this period opened an opportunity to grow in the then-nascent commerce cloud space.
The duo planned to bring emerging technologies to the field of advertising to drive sales for customers. This idea led to the launch of Mountain View, California-based Bloomreach, years before the internet penetrated every aspect of daily life.
“My thought at the time was, no one was excited about going online because they wanted to watch ads. They were going online because they wanted great experiences. So what if we could harness that class of technology and make every digital experience absolutely amazing, and also make it on-point with what people were seeking,” says Raj.
Bloomreach offers a Commerce Experience Cloud and within that cloud, the platform provides different products: Discovery, which offers AI-driven search and merchandising; Content, a headless CMS; and Engagement, a leading CDP and marketing automation solution.
Before launching the company, co-founder Ashutosh was a Google Search Engineer. Raj was entrepreneur-in-residence at Mohr-Davidow Ventures and served as Cisco’s director of product marketing. He was on the founding team of telecom company FirstMark Communications and also worked in technology investment banking at the financial advisory firm, Lazard Freres.
What does the platform do?
Bloomreach connects the dots between the core parts of the commerce experience to drive sales. Within the Cloud are three products: Engagement, Discovery, and Content.
Bloomreach Engagement provides a single platform that combines the power of a customer data platform, an email service provider, artificial intelligence, marketing automation, and web personalisation, helping brands create marketing campaigns across channels that drive revenue.
Bloomreach Discovery offers a powerful combination of AI-powered site search, SEO, recommendations, and product merchandising so brands can deliver the perfect results to their customers.
Bloomreach Content helps businesses manage their storefront and easily add products to any page with our powerful APIs and software solutions.
Together, these solutions enable Bloomreach’s team to provide brands with a scalable, end-to-end commerce experience.
"Currently, we serve over 850 global brands including Albertsons, Bosch, Puma, FC Bayern München, and Marks & Spencer,” says Raj.
The pandemic push
According to Raj, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed businesses online, making Bloomreach’s offerings more relevant than ever before.
Due to the pandemic-induced restriction on people's movement, shoppers have turned to e-commerce platforms for not just luxury products but also essentials.
“And Bloomreach was able to play a significant role for our clients as they responded to that. We were able to help businesses really transform their digital undertakings. We helped them to not only deliver the convenience and safety of online shopping, but also help to make that experience enjoyable and personalised for their consumers,” says Raj.
The company has now seen substantial growth this past year, but as with any startup, the team had to overcome challenges. For example, the company was earlier focussing on ensuring that their technology stack was strong, however, it had to eventually broaden the platform to encompass more of the commerce experience.
“As we looked to scale the business it was really a matter of understanding customer needs, adapting to changes in technology — the growth of mobile experience for example — and continuously innovating our product offering with these in mind. It allowed us to grow our offering into something that more and more businesses needed, eventually allowing us to get to where we are today,” adds Raj.
Market and differentiator
According to Fortune Business Insights, the global market for commerce cloud will touch $55.67 billion by 2027 from its current $12.32 billion. Some of the other players in the market include Algolia, Drupal Association, Sitecore, Evergage to name a few.
“Unlike our competitors, Bloomreach solutions are specifically built for commerce. We help our customers create digital experiences that will convert on any channel and every journey, producing measurable results for their business,” adds Raj.
The team does this by powering the Commerce Experience Cloud with commerce data — a combination of customer and product data. From there, the company empowers commerce driving teams (including marketers, merchandisers, CRM managers, and developers) to work as one, using a shared understanding of who the customer is and what they’re seeking to build seamless experiences across all of a brand’s owned channels.
“ So from engagement to inspiration to conversion, customer journeys are relevant and personalised for each customer. Importantly, our solutions are optimised by powerful AI, allowing our clients to offer these types of personalised, end-to-end commerce experiences at scale,” says Raj.
Funding and future
The startup raised an investment of $150 million from Sixth Street Growth in January 2021.
“Following the close of our second quarter in 2021, we surpassed $100 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) and achieved more than 100 percent new ARR growth. Year to date, we have also added nearly 100 new brands, now serving more than 850 total brands,” adds Raj.
With companies moving online, the next 15-20 will be about how businesses differentiate themselves in the virtual space.
"And creating that type of experience is dependent upon your personalisation efforts, from stitching together customer and product data and utilising that across all of your digital channels in a very seamless way,” says Raj.
Product and acquisition strategies have accelerated Bloomreach’s ability to drive that level of personalisation for the customers.
“So right now, our plan for the future is to remain hyper-focused on personalisation, continuing to innovate and add new features and functionalities that will allow our clients to thrive in this new era of digital, creating highly personalised, incredible, and memorable customer journeys that convert on any channel,” adds Raj.