News July 2 2019

Contentsquare acquires Clicktale to create the definitive global leader in experience analytics

  Combination Sets the Bar for Behavioural Insights Critical to Compete On Digital Experience Contentsquare, a leading digital experience insights platform trusted by brands like AccorHotels, Sephora and Walmart, announced today it has acquired Israel-based experience analytics company Clicktale, another leading digital experience platform, with clients such as Dell, RBS and T-Mobile. This combination creates the definitive global leader in the experience analytics market. The combined entity serves 600 enterprise clients around the world, including 30% of the Fortune Global 100, showing strong market presence in the U.S., Europe and Asia, and a global community of 12,000 users comprised of analytics, e-commerce, e-merchandising, content, marketing, UX and IT professionals. Just last week, Contentsquare announced the acquisition of Pricing Assistant, an innovative pricing optimisation and merchandising solution, making this the company's second acquisition. Contentsquare and Clicktale both go beyond traditional web analytics and heat-maps to give e-commerce and digital teams a granular understanding of customer behaviour on their web, mobile site and app. They collectively analyze nine trillion digital interactions every day to provide ready-to-use KPIs, benchmarks and recommendations many prestigious brands rely on to improve their digital conversions, revenue and loyalty. Together, Contentsquare and Clicktale provide the richest set of behavioural data, solutions and innovations to empower companies to understand how their digital experiences perform and prioritise the improvements that matter most. "The combination of Clicktale and Contentsquare heralds an unprecedented goldmine of digital data that enables companies to interpret and predict the impact of any digital element -- including user experience, content, price, reviews and product -- on visitor behaviour," said Jonathan Cherki, Founder and CEO of Contentsquare. "Increasingly, this unique data can be used to activate custom digital experiences in the moment via an ecosystem of over 50 martech partners.  With a global community of customers and partners, we are accelerating the interpretation of human behaviour online and shaping a future of addictive customer experiences." While they share a common mission rooted in behavioural data science, solutions from Clicktale and Contentsquare are highly complementary. Clicktale's focus has been to help digital teams see and solve issues to reduce friction in the buying journey, while Contentsquare empowers the discovery of formerly unseen opportunities to improve conversion and optimise content performance. "Clicktale boasts a heritage of driving meaningful insights for its customers while forging a path in digital experience innovation," said Shlomi Hagai, CEO of Clicktale. "Contentsquare and Clicktale are exceptionally compatible. By combining our resources, we unlock the next level of digital experience success for our customers." Product as well as research and development teams are working aggressively to deliver a joint augmented platform combining the best functionalities of each product.  Research and development resources will be integrated and expanded with teams working together in Paris and Tel Aviv. In total, the combined company now has more than 550 employees, with 170 people in R&D, including strong expertise in A.I. Since its founding, Contentsquare has experienced tremendous growth, including during the last year, in which it experienced 100% year over year growth; raised $60 million of Series C capital; and acquired Pricing Assistant. Contentsquare has raised $120 million over the last three years from Eurazeo, Canaan, Highland Europe and H14. Existing investors of Clicktale, including global investment firm KKR, will become investors in Contentsquare. About Contentsquare Contentsquare is a digital experience insights platform that helps businesses understand how and why visitors are interacting with their app, mobile and websites by analysing trillions of micro-behaviours -- such as hovers, scrolls and clicks -- each day. Contentsquare empowers every member of the digital team to easily measure the impact of their actions, and make fast and productive data-driven decisions to optimise the customer journey. Founded in 2012, Contentsquare has more than 400 clients worldwide, trusted by major brands such as AccorHotels, GoPro, Sephora, Walmart, and offices in London, Munich, New York, Paris and San Francisco. For more information, visit contentsquare.com. About Clicktale Clicktale tells the story of what your digital customers see and do, so you can help them achieve their goals. The leader in experience analytics, our platform and customer experience expertise transform millisecond-level behaviours and gestures into visualisations and insights worth millions of dollars. An enterprise-class platform, our architecture processes large, unpredictable workloads, and maintains stringent security and performance requirements. We offer deep integrations with over 50 vendors to extend the value of your marketing technology ecosystem. With a powerful combination of rich behavioural data and intuitive visualisations — enriched by layers of human intelligence — the world's most prominent brands rely on Clicktale to drive superior experiences on every digital channel.

News June 19 2019

Roli’s newest instrument, the Lumi, helps you learn to play piano

There has been a longstanding gulf between the consumption of music and the creation of it: not everyone has the time or money to spend on lessons and instruments, and for those in school, many music education programs have been cut back over the years, making the option of learning to play instruments for free less common. Still others have had moments of interest but haven’t found the process of learning that easy. Now we’re seeing a new wave of startups emerge that are attempting to tackle these issues with technology, creating tools and even new instruments that leverage smartphones and tablets, new hardware computing innovations and new software to make learning music more than just a pastime for a select few. In the latest development, London startup Roli is launching a new interactive keyboard called the Lumi. Part colourful, sound-sensitive lightboard and part piano, the Lumi’s keys light up in a colorful array to help guide and teach you to play music. The 11-inch keyboard — which can be linked with one or two more of the same to add more octaves — comes with an iPad app that contains hundreds of pieces, and the two are now selling for $249 alongside a new Kickstarter to help drum up interest and offer early-bird discounts. The Kickstarter campaign blew through its modest £100,000 goal within a short while, and some of the smaller tiers of pledges are now sold out. The product will start shipping in October 2019, the company says. As you might already know, or have guessed by the reaction to the kickstarter, this is not Roli’s first rodeo: the company has made two other major products (and variations on those two) before this, also aimed at music making. First came the Seaboard, which Roli described as a new instrument when it first launched. Taking the form factor of a keyboard, it contained squishy keys that let the player bend notes and create other effects alongside electronic-based percussive tapping, as you would do with a normal keyboard. Its next product was Blocks: small, modular light boards that also used colored light to guide your playing and help you create new and interesting sounds and beats with taps (and using a similarly squidgy surface to the Seaboard) and then mix them together. Both of these were interesting, but somewhat aimed at those who were already familiar with playing pianos or other instruments, or with creating and playing electronic music with synthesizers, FX processors and mixers. (Case in point: the people I know who were most interested in these were my DJ friends and my kids, who both play the piano and are a little nerdy about these things.) The Lumi is in a way a step back for Roli from trying to break new ground by conceiving of completely new instruments, with new form factors built with the benefits of technology and electronics in mind. But it’s also a step ahead: using a keyboard as the basis of the instrument, the Lumi is more familiar and therefore more accessible — with an accessible price of $249 to go along with that. Lumi’s emergence comes after an interesting few years of growth for Roli. The company is one of the select few (and I think the only one making musical instruments) to be retailed in Apple stores, and it’s had endorsements from some very high-profile people, but that’s about as mainstream as it has been up to now. The startup’s founder and CEO, American-born Roland Lamb, is probably best described as a polymath, someone who comes across less as a geeky and nervous or (at the other end) ultra-smooth-talking startup founder, and more like a calm-voiced thinker who has come out to talk to you in a break between reading and writing about the nature of music and teaching a small philosophy seminar. His background also speaks to this unconventional manner. Before coming to found Roli, he lived in a Zen monastery, made his way around the world playing jazz piano, and studied Chinese and Sanskrit at Harvard and design at the Royal College of Art. Roli has always been a little cagey about how much it has raised and from whom, but the list includes consumer electronics giants like Sony, specialist audio makers like Onkyo, the music giant Universal Music Group and VCs that include Founders Fund, Index and LocalGlobe, Kreos Capital, Horizons Ventures and more. It’s also partnered with a number of big names like Pharrell Williams (who is also an investor) in the effort to get its name out. And while it has most definitely made a mark with a certain echelon of the music world — producers and those creating electronic music — it has not parlayed that into a wider global reputation or wider accessibility. After bringing out instruments more for a high-end audience, the Lumi seems like an attempt to do just that. That seems to be coming at the right time. Services like Spotify and YouTube — and the rise of phones and internet usage in general — have transformed how we listen to music. We now have a much wider array of things to listen to whenever we want. On top of that, services like YouTube and SoundCloud furthermore are giving us a taste of creating our own music: using electronic devices, we can go beyond what might have been limitations up to now (for example, having never learned to play an instrument in the traditional sense) to get stuck into the craft itself. The Lumi is also tapping into another important theme, and that is of music being “good for you.” There is a line of thought that says learning an instrument is good for your mind, both if you’re a younger person who is still in school or indeed out of school and looking to stay sharp. Others believe it has health benefits. But realistically, these beliefs don’t get applied very often. Roli cites stats that say that only 10% of adults aged 18-29 have played an instrument in the past year, and of those that played as children, some 80% say they quit by age 14. Putting this together with the Lumi, it seems that the aim is to hit a wider swathe of the market and bring in people who might want to learn something like playing an instrument but previously thought it would be too much of a challenge. Roli isn’t the first — nor likely the last — company to reconsider how to learn playing the piano through technology. The Chinese company ONE Music Group makes both smart pianos with keyboards that light up, as well as a strip that you overlay on any keyboard, that also corresponds to an iPad app to learn to play piano. An American startup called McCarthy Music also makes illuminated-key pianos, also subscribing to the principle that providing this kind of guidance to teach muscle memory is an important step in getting a student acquainted with playing on a keyboard. The Lumi is notable not just because of its cost, but its size — the single, lightweight keyboards have a battery life of six hours and can fit in a backback. That said, Roli is hoping there will be a double audience to these in the longer term, bridging the divide between music maker and listener, but also amateur and pro. “Many people would love to play an instrument but worry that they don’t have the talent. Through our research, design, and innovation at ROLI,  we’ve come to believe that the problem is not a lack of talent. Rather, instruments themselves are not smart enough,” said Lamb in a statement. “What excites me most is that the intelligence of LUMI means that there’s something in it for everyone. On one hand my own kids now prefer LUMI time to movie time. On the other hand, several of the world’s leading keyboard players can’t wait to use LUMI in the studio and on the stage.”

News June 12 2019

Bux raises additional $12.5m
as it gears up to launch
‘zero-commission’ investing app

  Bux, the Amsterdam-based trading app that wants to make investing fun, has picked up an additional $12.5 million in new funding. Venture capital firms Velocity Capital and Holtzbrinck Ventures led the round, which also includes debt financing from Kreos Capital. It brings total funding to $35 million since being founded over five years ago. The newly raised capital will in part be used to launch “STOCKS,” the company’s planned app for “commission-free” investing. Bux is also disclosing that it has already spent some of the funding on the acquisition of online broker ayondo markets Limited (AML). Ayondo is the back-end provider the startup has been using to power its existing trading app BUX,  while the merger arguably puts Bux squarely in the “neo-broker” territory and up against the likes of London-based Freetrade. “The acquisition of AML marks the first acquisition by BUX since its founding in 2014,” says the Dutch company. “To-date, the partnership with AML has allowed BUX to fully focus on creating an app that removes the complexity from the financial markets and simplifies the trading experience. It has allowed BUX to reach a base of over 2 million users in just over four years across 9 European countries”. By bringing its brokering in-house, Nick Bortot, CEO and founder of Bux, says it gives the company control over “the full value chain,” including a full brokerage license, back-end technology and operation. This, he believes, will enable Bux to service customers better going forward, and make it much easier to quickly launch new features. It’s a similar argument made by challenger banks that have built out their own banking stack, and echoes the thinking behind competitor Freetrade’s decision to acquire a broker license very early on. “We will additionally add 50% to our future revenues, as we will keep servicing other clients of AML,” adds Bortot. On track to launch this summer is STOCKS, Bux’s commission-free investing app that is quite different to the BUX app that offers a “gamified” trading experience and generates revenue per trade. “Our current trading app allows users to trade in CFDs on stocks, indices, forex and other financial products for the short term with limited leverage,” explains the Bux CEO. “STOCKS will allow users to invest in companies for the mid to long term and allow them to invest in real shares commission-free [as opposed to CFD trading]. It will offer a unique combination of a simplified investing experience along with a vibrant community where they can follow, learn from fellow investors and explore new investing opportunities. This unique combination will be unlike anything that will be in the market once we are live”. Meanwhile, Revolut, the fast-growing banking app, is also planning to launch a free trading feature, although Bortot is sceptical about how successful that will be. “At this time Revolut has not yet launched their zero-commission trading service,” he says, [and] we are convinced that brokerage and banking are two completely different animals. It requires different skills, expertise, regulation, etc. “Therefore, similar to what we have seen in neo banking, we will see the rise of 2 to 3 pan-European neo brokers over the next few years (we anticipate 2 to 3 as a matter of scale across Europe). In order for these mobile brokers to be successful across the whole of Europe, and become true neo brokers, it will be crucial for them to be able to easily adapt their services to other languages, but also to different legal systems, local tax systems, local KYC regulations, etc. Europe is very fragmented and not a one size fits all geography”. To that end, Bux says its soon-to-launch STOCKS app currently has over 100,000 users on the waitlist. Netherlands and Germany will get access to the new app first, followed by a broader rollout across Europe “in the coming year”.

Portfolio April 30 2019

Butternut Box raises £15m

You’ve probably heard of HelloFresh-style businesses where you are given tailored ingredients for your meals. Well now the concept has come, literally, to dog food. Butternut Box is a London startup now bringing tailored, delivered meals to British dogs. It’s aiming at dog owners who want high-quality ingredients put into meals for their precious pooches. The company is led by Goldman Sachs alumni Kevin Glynn and David Nolan (aged 27 and 30 respectively), and is now announcing a £1 million Seed round of investment from a leading London early stage investor, Passion Capital. Estimates for dog and cat food snacks in the UK is currently £3.1 billion per annum, but only a tiny minority of these products are cooked fresh. Plus, only two companies dominate an estimated 77% of the UK pet food market. However, they are not alone, competing with Lily’s Kitchen, Tails.com and Natural Instinct for this lucrative new market. That said, they say that unlike other brands, their proprietary algorithm identifies how many kcals each individual dog needs on a daily basis. They then remove the hassle by pre-portioning this kcal amount into daily servings. They even taste test all their food – with humans. Glynn says “Pet owners are left choosing their dog food in an aisle cluttered with washing powder and bin bags and dominated by a few unhealthy choices. Butternut Box  makes it easy and convenient to ensure dogs get the very best diet tailored for each individual.” They appear to be pushing at an open door. Just as in humans, obesity and related issues are said to be costing British dog owners over £200 million in vet’s fees. Overfeeding, and unhealthy food is leading to obesity. But Butternut Box’s algorithms might be one answer. Nolan says: “We know their age, weight, breed, activity levels and body condition. With this information, we can develop meals that meet the dog’s specific needs.” Meet the Quantified Dog. Why create this tailored approach? Well, a scientific study found that dogs who were fed a natural, home-made diet had a longer life capacity than those dogs who were fed industrial canned products. The difference which is mentioned in the study between those two diets is three years, a long time in dog years. After starting out in a family kitchen, with daily early morning trips to London’s Smithfield meat market, Butternut Box is now based in a kitchen in West London and sources all its meat direct in Ireland and Britain. So far it’s cooked over 250,000 individual meals since it launched in April 2016.

Portfolio March 21 2019

UnitedLex embraces legal AI with Seal Software deployment

Global legal services business, UnitedLex, is making use of legal AI technology provided by Seal Software, in what is a significant change of heart for a business that previously had a longstanding scepticism for such applications. The move is significant on multiple levels, one of which is that UnitedLex now has a huge private equity fund, CVC Capital Partners, as a majority owner which believes the enterprise legal group has ‘a multi-billion-dollar opportunity ahead’ according to comments from Siddharth Patel, Senior Managing Director at CVC at the time of the investment last year. It’s also a major additional validation of Seal – not that it really needed one given its long-running success at selling its legal AI review tech into the world’s largest companies. But, still, when a legal AI sceptic converts to a believer it’s always great to see.   The change of heart was explained to Artificial Lawyer by Dan Reed, CEO of the rapidly expanding UnitedLex, which formed back in 2006 and now takes on day to day legal matters for many of the world’s corporates at a level that is now in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Reed, who is extremely bullish about UnitedLex’s future growth prospects and business model, which includes working in partnership with law firms such as LeClair Ryan in the US, said: ‘We have a tech lab so we can test the solutions, because we want to make sure our clients are getting the best solutions.’ ‘We looked at several AI solutions and we believe that Seal is the only one that works for us. We are using Seal Software currently on client matters and it is a part of our delivery arm.’ Reed added that he expects to see greater use of this type of tool in the future. ‘We will see much more maturity [in AI tech],’ he added. Now, the words above may seem quite normal. You’ve all read clients of legal AI companies singing their praises before. What’s different here is that Reed and UnitedLex in general had until quite recently been very sceptical about AI tools – primarily because they didn’t believe they could really be of significant use. Reed noted that they had looked at Seal in the past and not felt moved to use it. But, he added, that after the merger with Apogee Legal last summer things changed. Prior to the merger Apogee and Seal had been working closely together and Apogee had been providing some of the NLP ‘toolkits’ for doc analysis that Seal’s corporate clients were using. Reed added that the interface also improved following the combination of the two companies and that had helped as well. He also stressed that more broadly he is still quite sceptical about the idea that lawyers’ working practices at the moment are being radically changed by technology. ‘The challenge is that it is generally an aspiration when it comes to tech. In the legal sector people are excited by e-signatures,’ he noted with some amusement. Is this a big deal? Yes. Because it shows: first, that large corporates want review work to be augmented with technology such as Seal’s legal AI capabilities, and secondly, that UnitedLex are now part of the ‘AI Users Club’ – a steadily growing family of law firms and legal businesses around the world. They also join the good company of several others working in the same segment of the market, including the smaller, but rapidly expanding Elevate, which bought out legal AI company LexPredict last year. Is this going to drive radical change within UnitedLex? Probably not in the short to medium term. They’re a big organisation with offices around the world, helping a multitude of clients, that includes the likes of GE. Seal may however – one would guess – steadily see its use level rise and spread, especially as more and more corporates demand rapid and effective tech-led review and contract analysis.