An Austin startup that wants to change the way online retailers interact with their customers has raised $3.5 million from investors including Austin Ventures.
Compare Metrics, founded in 2012, has developed a software platform that lets websites customize the product content they provide to shoppers.
It works by collecting data on how shoppers browse and navigate a site, including what they buy, how they search, how they filter, and what content they use to make a purchase. Compare Metrics turns the data into preferences that allow a site to customize how it presents product information.
If, for example, a visitor searches for a black dress, the retailer can provide tailored information, such as reviews, product details, photos, videos, and other media, based on the shopper's preferences
"The biggest challenge for retailers in 2013 is to create a better customer experience," said CEO and co-founder Garrett Eastham. "They're competing with Amazon, which typically beats them on price. They want to create a unique shopping experience that truly makes somebody want to come back. We give them the tools to do that."
Compare Metrics has signed half a dozen major retailers as customers in categories including fashion, home goods and beauty.
In addition to Austin Ventures, investors included Contour Venture Partners, Floodgate, Allegro Venture Partners and Mack Capital, as well as former Dell Inc. financial chief Tom Meredith. The company has raised a total of $4.2 million since inception.
Compare Metrics' founders are Eastham, who was previously product manager for data analytics at Bazaarvoice; Mikael Solomon, formerly a sales and marketing manager for industrial products supplier McMaster-Carr and Stephen Goodwin, a software engineer who previously worked on Microsoft Corp.'s Bing search engine.
Brett Hurt, founder of Bazaarvoice, was an early investor in Compare Metrics and serves as chairman.
The 20-person company will use the funding to expand product development and sales, Eastham said. Next month it will move to new offices at Metric Boulevard and Kramer Lane as it steps up hiring, which could bring its workforce to 35 by the end of next year.
The idea for Compare Metrics came from cognitive science research Eastham led at Stanford University to understand the impact of impact of different computer interfaces on the decision-making process.
Chris Pacitti, general partner at Austin Ventures, said that "when Garrett, Mikael and Stephen approached us in late 2012 with a solution that married the strengths of the human decision-making engine with big data processing and optimization, we knew they were onto something unique and promising. Market excitement has validated our early assumptions."
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