A Q&A with Aislelabs co-founder Nick Koudas. The Toronto-based startup, which offers a cloud-based proximity and personalized marketing solution for retailers, last week announced the completion of a $1.5 million Seed funding round. Investors include MaRS IAF, Rho Ventures, Salesforce and Angel investors. It was founded last fall by Koudas and CTO Nilesh Bansal.
SUB: Please describe Aislelabs and your primary innovation.
Koudas: Aislelabs is a technology company assisting retailers to increase sales through the power of big data analytics. We help our clients understand customer traffic patterns and behavior inside and outside their physical stores in ways never before possible.
This deeper understanding empowers our suite of products to deliver highly-personalized marketing tailored for individual in-store customers. Aislelabs’ technology transforms retail locations to smart stores, resulting in effective marketing, increased sales, and better customer satisfaction.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Koudas: In principle, any space where people gather and transact is a potential target. For our Flow product, we are focusing on brick-and-mortar retailers globally with a lot of real estate. The good thing about our technology is that it is hardware agnostic, so we partner with telecom operators [and] wireless infrastructure providers in addition to market research and shopper marketing agencies to sell our products.
For our Engage product, we are working with app developers, digital agencies and marketing cloud software providers.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition, and what differentiates Aislelabs from the competition?
Koudas: The space of in-store analytics has been growing very fast. Aislelabs brings to the market: 1.) a real-time analytics platform; 2.) a solution that is extremely easy to deploy and get value from without complex installs or complex calibration; and 3.) a very accurate indoor analytics technology that can provide insights about traffic on space in a highly granular fashion.
SUB: You just announced that you’ve raised $1.5 million in Seed funding. Why was this the right time to raise outside funding?
Koudas: We are expanding our sales and marketing and the funds will help for this. We have been primarily self-funding the development of all of our technology.
SUB: Do you have plans to seek additional outside funding in the near future?
Koudas: We will explore the market for additional capital if-and-when the need arises.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Aislelabs? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Koudas: Our lives have been growing digitally, but a lot of activity still remains in the physical space. Being able to connect the online and offline human—customer, client, etc.—behavior has always been our inspiration.
SUB: What were the first steps you took in establishing the company?
Koudas: We are a team with core technology strengths and we first focused on building a superb platform.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story or meaning behind it?
Koudas: It came naturally, as we are providing technology for physical retail spaces.
SUB: What have the most significant challenges been so far to building the company?
Koudas: As consumers, we care about privacy. At Aislelabs we took special steps even before launching the company to work with the right regulatory bodies and obtain their endorsement and approval of our methodologies and operations.
SUB: How do you generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Koudas: We are a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) provider and we charge monthly fees for our services.
SUB: What are your goals for Aislelabs over the next year or so?
Koudas: To grow our client base, launch new products and evolve fast along with the market.