Collaborating Authors

Conversational data platform taps AI for sentiment analysis


We are excited to bring Transform 2022 back in-person July 19 and virtually July 20 - August 3. Join AI and data leaders for insightful talks and exciting networking opportunities. Communication software platform maker Arena – a provider of a Slack-like chat or bot conversation column to the right side of your screen when you're on an ecommerce site – is endeavoring to bring more human understanding to online marketing and sales. That, in turn, works to establish better rapport with potential customers for ecommerce businesses. The San Francisco-based startup's group chat and messaging application framework for B2C enterprises, having earned the attention of investors, yesterday announced a $13.6 million Series A round led by CRV with Craft Ventures, Artisanal Ventures and Vela Partners also participating. A key marketing trend in 2022 is for consumer companies to find ways to move beyond social media and third-party cookies as a way of gaining better direct insights into their users and customers.

Arena and the disappearing art of bootstrapping startups


Silicon Valley headlines often report on the size of venture capital raised by a startup -- the bigger the funding, the bigger the story. But this is a poor way to understand the startup community. Startup success isn't determined by how much you raise; it's about how much you keep. is a great example. It recently raised a seed round of $2.3 million -- a tiny amount by local standards.

Bluecore raises $50M for its first-party, AI-based marketing automation tools – TechCrunch


As more online brands look for ways to move beyond third-party cookies as a way of gaining more direct insights about their users and customers, a startup that has developed a platform to help them has raised a big round of funding. Bluecore, a marketing technology firm that uses data gained from direct marketing like email, social media, site activity and combines that with machine learning to make better predictions about who might want to buy what among its customers, is today announcing that it has raised $50 million. The funding will be used to build the next generation of the Bluecore platform, expected later this year, which will tap into aggregated engagement data (but not actual browsing individuals) from "hundreds" of brands, which customers can combine with their own first-party data -- based on consent-based, first-party customer IDs -- to develop better targeting insights. "There are a lot of systems that focus on customer data and transactional data but no system that focuses on the product and product catalogue, which we think is the key asset," said Fayez Mohamood, the co-founder and CEO, in an interview. He says that the company manages over 200 million products and SKUs, second only to Amazon's and bigger than Walmart's, that companies can matches with consumer identities (from email and other direct channels).

Intellimize raises $30M to optimize websites with AI


Where does your enterprise stand on the AI adoption curve? Take our AI survey to find out. Intellimize, a startup aiming to help marketers drive conversions by personalizing websites, today announced that it raised $30 million in series B funding led by Cobalt Capital, with participation from Addition, Amplify Partners, Homebrew, and Precursor Ventures. CEO Guy Yalif says that the proceeds, which bring the company's total raised to over $50 million, will be put toward expanding Intellimize's engineering and customer-facing teams. Personalization is increasingly key to boosting business revenue.

Flexe raises $70 million to make logistics networks more elastic


Flexe, an on-demand warehousing and technology platform used by retailers like Walmart, has raised $70 million in a round of funding led by T. Rowe Price. The funding comes amid an ecommerce boom that has seen U.S. digital sales jump by 30%, expediting the online shopping transition by as much as two years. Although the world could return to some semblance of normality in 2021, many businesses will likely continue to invest in their online operations, in part because of a permanent shift in consumer habits, but also because digital commerce offers advantages like increased data and analytics. Founded in 2013, Seattle-based Flexe matches retailers and brands with some 1,500 warehouse locations across the U.S. As cloud computing has transformed businesses, allowing them to expand their data storage and computing power bandwidth without huge infrastructural investments, Flexe has set out to apply a similar philosophy to warehousing and fulfillment. "Before AWS invented cloud computing 15 years ago, companies could lease and operate their own datacenters, or outsource to a third-party datacenter operator, but both choices came with significant fixed capital investments and time commitments," Flexe CEO and cofounder Karl Siebrecht told VentureBeat. "Traditional warehousing solutions, whether first-party- or third-party-operated, have high fixed costs and long-term commitments because the fundamental economic construct of warehousing is a fixed term lease."