Q&A with Claritics co-founder and CEO Raj Pai
SUB: Please describe what Claritics is, and the value proposition you bring to the analytics market.
Pai: Claritics is a “social intelligence” company. We provide social analytics for app developers and business owners conducting social commerce to help them optimize their reach, retention and revenue campaigns. We take all of the rich data available about a user’s profile and their social behaviors and we deliver it in a way that helps our clients gain immediate and actionable insights. We’re a bit different that what’s already on the market in that we focus on driving clear actions from analytics (campaign offers, ad targeting, in-game virtual goods, etc). Our solution is also unique and includes a set of automation features and predictive modeling technologies that help app developers optimize app performance on the fly.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind Claritics?
Pai: We all have deep roots in analytics and big data, and as we saw the market shifting from Business Intelligence to Web Intelligence and now Social Intelligence, we were excited about the challenges and possibilities posed by social analytics. You have people interacting with apps and web pages in completely new and different ways, and that requires a whole new way of looking at things. For example, by analyzing a user’s social actions within a game we can collect strong signals about his/her likes/dislikes. We can also use analytics to make predictions about user behavior and optimize app performance. We believe that analytics should help people peer into the future rather than simply look into the past.
SUB: What were the first steps you took in building the business?
Pai: My co-founder, Jay Bala, and I have known each other for years, and we’d always talked about going into business together. We both had a similar vision for what big data and analytics, but one of the first things we did was went out and spoke to hundreds of potential customers and spent a lot of time understanding their pain points and brainstorming to find the best solution to solve current as well as “soon to encounter” challenges for these customers.
SUB: How many customers/users do you have to this point?
Pai: We’re still in a closed private beta period so we’re working with a handful of customers and partners. They run the gamut from social games and other types of app developers to big brand retailers and media companies. A couple of our early beta partners include Hallmark’s SocialCalendar and ChaYoWo Games. You can find case studies with both of these on our site.
SUB: How are you marketing the service?
Pai: So far it’s mostly been word of mouth. We received our Series A funding recently and did some PR around that, but already we have a queue of people waiting to sign up for when we launch our open beta program, which will be shortly.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Pai: Well, no one is doing exactly what we’re doing. Of course, everybody says that. There’s a lot of noise right now about “social analytics” because it’s such a hot opportunity, but it’s a very broad market with lots of different categories. The companies we’d consider our nearest competition are those that are catering to social app developers, so companies like Kontagent and Mixpanel. But we’re also gunning for the bigger analytics companies like Omniture (part of Adobe) and WebTrends.
SUB: What differentiates Claritics from your competitors?
Pai: The big thing is the automation features I already mentioned, and our ability to deliver actionable insights in real-time. But we’re also different in that we provide a really lightweight set of cloud-based analytics applications that require hardly any IT resources to integrate or maintain. We built the product to be really easy to use, almost like Google Analytics except in real-time and domain-specific for our gaming and social commerce clients.
SUB: What is your business model? How does Claritics make money?
Pai: We offer monthly subscription packages based on what our customers need. These packages are tiered based on the value our customers derive in driving user acquisition and monetization campaigns.
SUB: What have the biggest challenges been so far to building the business?
Pai: The biggest challenge is always finding great people to work with. We’re currently hiring for several positions in engineering, product, business development and other departments, so if you know of any good, talented people who want to make a real difference, please send them our way.
SUB: You recently raised $1.5 million in Series A funding. Do you have specific plans for the funds?
Pai: We’ll use it to invest in the product itself and to grow out the sales and marketing teams.
SUB: Do you plan to seek more funding in the near future?
Pai: This phase of our company growth is focused on getting the customer-product fit right with our early set of customers and partners. We have raised enough funding for now and have great investors who understand our business. Our expectations are to grow Claritics very quickly. As we execute and achieve our internal milestones, we may consider taking on more funding if it helps accelerate our sales and marketing objectives.
SUB: Finally, as an entrepreneur who has guided your company though a down economy, what advice do you have for entrepreneurs just starting out now?
Pai: Good question. In all honesty it hasn’t felt like a down economy. I know other parts of the country and the world are having difficult times, but in Silicon Valley and especially in the “social media” industry, business is pretty good. But I think irrespective of the state of the economy, following one’s passion and making sure you find the right “customer-product” fit is critical to win and succeed in a startup.
Claritics – www.claritics.com