Real-time e-commerce analytics startup Plaid of Japan secures $4 million funding

Plaid CEO Kenta Kurahashi

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Plaid, a startup developing a real-time analytics platform for e-commerce sites called Karte, announced last week that it has fundraised 500 million yen (about $4 million) from Fidelity Growth Partners Japan and Femto Growth Capital. David Milstein, Head of Japan for Fidelity Growth Partners, will join the team as its outside director. Femto Growth Capital invested about $1.5 million in the startup during the previous round.

Karte allows e-commerce site owners to grasp their visitors’ demographics just by adding a few lines of codes to their websites. In addition to analyzing the behaviors of e-commerce site visitors in real time, the service allows the owners to send out promotional campaigns to potential buyers in form of message notifications or pop-up windows.

Plaid CEO Kenta Kurahashi explained how Karte came into being:

It had been difficult for e-commerce sites to treat their visitors according to their status or behaviors as sales representatives do at real retailers. We have developed a technology that enables e-commerce site owners to provide such a hospitality and a new customer experience for their visitors. While existing platforms conduct analysis based on metrics from the past, such as pageviews, unique users and residence time, Karte uses real-time access data and enables website owners to take appropriate measures to their visitors on the spot.

Karte’s dashboard for website owners

E-commerce sites, typically collecting private information on users to enable item purchases, can associate the real-time response from Karte with their customer database so that site owners can easily specify who is visiting their website and how he/she is behaving there, regardless of which browsing device he/she is using.

Karte allows users to customize how the platform responds to each of their visitors upon demographics and behaviors. For instance, an e-commerce company uses Karte to improve the awareness of their anniversary campaign, letting a banner sign pop up upon check-out to encourage their visitors to buy more; as such they can take a give-away if the purchases add up to a certain amount.

In cases of other use, for customers who are interested in a certain product category but have not decided which item to buy, some e-commerce site owners take them to a comparison chart of similar items with details. We were told that many site owners have succeeded in improving conversion rates by leveraging the platform.

Kurahashi added:

In addition to e-commerce sites, our solution allows recruiting sites to present a banner to their users seeking a position in a specific business category. Meanwhile it lets real estate companies show a pop-up message to visitors who are searching properties in a certain area or a specific type of room layout. Our product is used by many businesses including hotels and English conversation schools. Thus our clients can create a fully customized service corresponding to their business so that it can help building unique types of royalty with every single customer.

What kind of information will better work to motivate what kind of user? Kurahashi told us that’s what users have to be focused on figuring out leveraging their imagination while the Karte engine semi-automates the analyzing process of web access statistics.

Kurahashi concluded:

We hope our solution supports designing a true user experience, which is not just a customer experience but that tailored for each individual user.

We were told that the latest investment will be used to help hiring engineers, improving a user support structure for users as well as launching consulting services. They will also polish their product, developing additional functions and integration with other third-party services such as online shopping cart providers, online marketing tools, chat tools and online survey tools.

Upon solidifying its market share in Japan by expanding its market reach to enterprises and SMEs in addition to local retailers, the company is looking to expand globally.

Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by Masaru Ikeda and “Tex” Pomeroy