The crystal ball that can predict when, where, and how a customer will spend their money has a new name and it goes by Programmai. This predictive marketing software uses customer data to accurately predict customer spending for both the short and long term. Programmai can even predict the future lifetime value of a customer based on the first interaction. Applying machine learning, marketers can use predictive values from Programmani to develop marketing programs and hone acquisition costs, no longer taking stabs in the dark but instead basing these decisions on justifiable data and forecasts.
London TechWatch caught up with CEO Dean Murr to find out how his previous experience at Asos led him to create Programmai, the company’s experience raising during the pandemic, and recent funding round.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
It was a Seed round led by Paul Cooper. We raised £850K.
Programmai software enables its clients to use their customer data to make accurate customer spending predictions. Using these predictions enables clients to run marketing campaigns to acquire new and repeat customers, more efficiently at scale.
What inspired the start of Programmai?
I was an early pioneer in using machine learning within a retailer – ASOS.com. left to set up Programmai to further develop the full potential of applied machine learning.
How is Programmai different?
The completeness of the solution allows the user to import a broad range of first-party data and produce substantial uplifts in marketing performance.
What market are you targeting and how big is it?
We currently address $800B of the total marketing market spend of $2.6T.
What’s your business model?
Software as a service.
How has COVID-19 impacted the business?
COVID-19 has created a significant opportunity for us. A large number of our prospective clients are looking to grow sales faster with the same spend or are looking to reduce spending without impacting the business. Our software fulfills these requirements.
What was the funding process like?
It is challenging at the best of times. But during a global pandemic a lot of “business as usual” was untrue and those still making investments were being opportunistic. Paul wasn’t like that. A VC described him as leading the round in a VC way, which is testament to his 15+ years of M&A experience. I was in good hands and now with him as Chairman, we’re both on the same side of the table.
Fortunately for us, we did not receive any “no” or “pass” decisions, so we barely got down our list of angel investors that we wanted to invite to participate in this round. We used SeedLegals to execute and close the round; some parts of the platform were great and other parts of the service were wanting.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Every day in the life of a startup feels like a rollercoaster. My staff tells me this all the time and I agree. The thing that worried me the most was raising during a global pandemic. You think you know how the virus in impacting your clients because you have a close working relationship, but at any moment one of them could fold and you’d have to tell your incoming investors that you’ve lost annual recurring revenue from the books and this affects both confidence and valuation. We were lucky to be raising from a position of strength, the business has been post-revenue 3 months into inception as there’s genuine demand for our product and I proved that to myself while at ASOS.com. So capital wasn’t an issue and job retention was all but guaranteed. Our burn rate was minimal, we were ready to grind it out. The biggest challenge was actually around what I had or hadn’t done up until the point of raising capital. My advice to founders is to be diligent now and keep everything in order and on record so that surfacing it at a later date is easy.
We were lucky to be raising from a position of strength, the business has been post-revenue 3 months into inception as there’s genuine demand for our product and I proved that to myself while at ASOS.com.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
- Fantastic feedback from customers.
- Really strong team.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
In addition to winning and onboarding new clients, we have some key hires to make and some exciting product upgrades to complete.
What advice can you offer companies in London that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Focus on what you are good at and don’t give up.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
The absolute priority is to service the demand we have now, to win new clients, and to improve the technology proposition. We are already being asked to internationalize and we have proven the same uplift in many languages so that’s on the cards although maybe not in the near term.
What’s your favorite outdoor activity in London?
Walking out to Restaurants.
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