Bluecore, the marketing technology company reimagining how the world’s fastest-growing retail brands transform casual shoppers into lifetime customers, today announced the close of its $50 million Series D funding round. The round was led by existing investor Georgian Partners, who recently raised Canada’s first $1-billion-plus private-sector venture capital fund. Current Bluecore investors FirstMark and Norwest also invested in the round. This new investment brings Bluecore’s total funding to date to more than $100 million.
Funding to Accelerate AI Capabilities for Digital Sales Channels
The company will use the funds to accelerate its work in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Over the last four years, Bluecore has developed and released the industry’s first fully automated email marketing solution. Its current AI applications are able to auto-generate completely personalized email campaigns by curating products, content, and offers, specific to each shopper a brand interacts with. This shopper-specific personalization is based on a trifecta of insights unique to Bluecore’s data model: 1) consumer identity, 2) shopper behavior, and 3) real-time changes to retailers’ product catalogues.
Bluecore’s AI additionally responds autonomously to implicit consumer feedback on, and preferences around, frequency and type of communications shoppers want to receive from retail brands. Its artificial marketing solutions have seen rapid adoption by retailers, with over 70% of clients, including Jockey, Lane Bryant and Hammacher Schlemmer, now deploying its current AI. In 2019, Bluecore migrated to a completely success-driven pricing model, where clients pay solely based on traffic and conversions generated by the AI.
These successes have motivated Bluecore to accelerate the development of more advanced AI applications, built upon the predictive models it is known for. Over the next 12 months, Bluecore will unveil new capabilities, such as the ability to use what it learns about product trends across more than 400 hundred brands’ live product catalogs to improve experiences on an individual retailer’s digital channels. Informed by 100B+ consumer interactions and 200M+ products, the new AI application will learn and predict which product is most likely to drive a purchase by a specific individual. It will then autonomously trigger the next-best action for a given shopper, no matter where he or she is shopping in the moment.
“We’re eager to bring a new form of real-time intelligence that no one else has been able to tap into, to market,” said Fayez Mohamood, CEO of Bluecore. “We’re both encouraged and emboldened by the fact that our investors have continuously backed our AI and substantially increased their investments in us. Having accelerated our growth and achieved best-in-class sales productivity metrics for clients, the next phase in our partnership with Georgian Partners, FirstMark and Norwest will be critical to realizing an even greater vision for the retail industry.”
Moving the Retail Industry from Third-Party to First-Party Insights
Bluecore estimates that it currently influences approximately 10% of all non-Amazon Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) in the U.S. It plans to increase this percentage through its use of AI to transform retail brands’ existing first-party data into a more precise and immediately actionable form of consumer insight as the industry distances itself from third-party cookies. Georgian Partners’ repeat investment in the company is validation of this vision and a nod to Bluecore’s growth since the Toronto-based VC’s initial Series B investment in 2015.
Georgian Partners invests in growth-stage software companies that apply disruptive and emerging technologies–such as artificial intelligence, conversational AI and trust–to mainstream business challenges. It currently has a diverse portfolio of 38 active companies, including True Fit, WorkFusion, and Top Hat, with a wide range of successful exits including Shopify, OpCity and PrecisionLeader.
“Bluecore is uniquely equipped to deliver the advanced artificial intelligence capabilities that retailers need to navigate rapidly changing market conditions,” said Tyson Baber, Partner, Georgian Partners. “We are delighted to be deepening our partnership with Bluecore with this funding round, as well as continuing our long-standing research and development partnership. Their work is helping brands get actionable intelligence from one of the richest sets of retail industry data in the world.”
Investing in the Performance of Its Decisions
Bluecore describes its general investment area as not only in AI, but as the overall improvement of the performance of its decisions. Some of its investments will include introducing more advanced methods of model training, such as federated or transfer learning technologies, which would enable Bluecore’s models to aggregate learnings across its network without sharing client data.
Retail brands are increasingly prioritizing retention of their existing customers and looking for new ways to leverage their owned, first-party data–rather than that of third-party sources–to define and capture new audiences. Bluecore’s growing partnership with Google Cloud and increased focus on consent-based, first-party customer IDs will ultimately introduce a more transparent model than those based on third-party cookies.
Bluecore is a marketing technology company that’s reimagining how the world’s fastest growing retail brands transform casual shoppers into lifetime customers. Through its patented retail data model and the recent release of Bluecore Communicate™ and Bluecore Site™, brands are now able to personalize 100% of communications delivered to consumers through their email and ecommerce shopping experiences. Bluecore replaces manual processes with an intelligent, AI-driven workflow, allowing brands to manage these communications through a single interface. In 2019, the company bet big on itself when it introduced the industry’s first shared-success pricing model. It’s now credited with doubling email revenue, and increasing customer retention, lifetime value and overall speed to marketing for more than 400 brands, including Express, Tommy Hilfiger, The North Face, Teleflora, and Bass Pro Shops.