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Japan’s analytics startup Plaid snags $25M to help companies refine customer experience

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See the original story in Japanese. Tokyo-based Plaid, the Japanese startup offering a real-time data analysis of website visitors called Karte, announced last week that it has secured funding from Femto Partners, Eight Roads Ventures Japan, Mitsui & Co., Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital, SMBC Venture Capital, Mizuho Capital, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and others. Combining funds through the investment aforementioned with loans from Mizuho Bank and other financial institutions, the company secured about 2.7 billion yen (around $25M US) at this time. Details including stock holding ratios were not disclosed. The latest announcement means that the company has thus far raised 3.4 billion yen (about $32M) in total, including previous funds from Femto Growth Capital and Eight Roads Ventures Japan. Plaid employs 90 people when all contract forms are included. Since its launch back in March of 2015, Karte had been introduced to 1,430 companies by March of 2017. The number of user companies has been undisclosed since the third year after the launch; instead, the company released the cumulative number of users analyzed by the service, which is 2.2 billion. Also, since around half of the companies introducing Karte are commerce enterprises, the company revealed that the total transactions…

Plaid CEO Kenta Kurahashi

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Plaid, the Japanese startup offering a real-time data analysis of website visitors called Karte, announced last week that it has secured funding from Femto Partners, Eight Roads Ventures Japan, Mitsui & Co., Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Venture Capital, SMBC Venture Capital, Mizuho Capital, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and others.

Combining funds through the investment aforementioned with loans from Mizuho Bank and other financial institutions, the company secured about 2.7 billion yen (around $25M US) at this time. Details including stock holding ratios were not disclosed. The latest announcement means that the company has thus far raised 3.4 billion yen (about $32M) in total, including previous funds from Femto Growth Capital and Eight Roads Ventures Japan.

Plaid employs 90 people when all contract forms are included. Since its launch back in March of 2015, Karte had been introduced to 1,430 companies by March of 2017. The number of user companies has been undisclosed since the third year after the launch; instead, the company released the cumulative number of users analyzed by the service, which is 2.2 billion. Also, since around half of the companies introducing Karte are commerce enterprises, the company revealed that the total transactions dealt with through the platform was 548 billion yen (nearly $5.1B US). Furthermore, as confirmed by CEO Kenta Kurahashi, this total reflects the total value of products actually purchased after users visit the websites of companies using Karte.

According to the press release, the company also achieved a monthly surplus in March of 2017, and the funds raised this time will be used mainly for marketing, strengthening recruitment for all positions, and overseas service expansion.

Turning into customer experience platform

In the past, Karte used access analysis and marketing-related tools to create simple figures expressed as “1 PV (page views)” and “1 UU (unique users)” and use them as actual visiting opportunities, and opened up the category of “better taking care of online customers” to respond to this while analyzing finer actions.

In its third year the company will now use these existing concepts to provide a new “CX Platform (customer experience platform)” that is a more customer-centered marketing analytics service. Kurahashi explains the difference between Karte and other marketing tools by relating that the total use distribution among companies using Karte becomes larger.

(When talking about companies using Karte) Karte makes people visible, so it can take on the customer’s perspective, what they want, who they want to buy it, and why they want it. Many of the conventional tools (for raising sales and setting indicators) are corporate-oriented, and there is nothing to prompt action by understanding the user’s voice.

Every year since 2011 the Chief Marketing Technologist Blog has been creating and publishing a marketing chaos map (see below), and as the map shows, the number of available tools continues to increase every year. While many claim to automate, there are times when companies must pay high-cost consulting fees to actually introduce the tools. Kurahashi also said, “It’s strange that you have to give it all you’ve got to master them,” but that is the exact world-view.

From Chief Marketing Technologist Blog. Click to enlarge.

Karte is based on the idea of returning marketing to the customer’s viewpoint, which must first be realized by thoroughly visualizing the customers who are hard to see on the web. The company takes what is natural for customer service in spaces with physical stores and brings it to the web. The increase in companies using Karte and the total amount of distribution, as well as the number of users analyzed, demonstrates that this idea is accepted.

Karte has undergone a great renewal in April, and in particular the visualization of user behavior in real time has become more useful. The company introduced a score function this time which measures users’ experiences as satisfactory and unsatisfactory, and adds visibility that allows them to bring forward the users who need support.

Additionally, up to now the company has visualized each user who visited a site as 1 UU on a timeline, and with the renewal it has strengthened this function by introducing mirroring capabilities that allow administrators to see which site flow lines the user actually traced. With this, it has become possible to judge at a glance when, where, and in which situation the user took action.

Kurahashi creates a customer-centered analysis culture through these renewals and aims to acquire and expand Plaid’s own positioning.

Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda

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

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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…

plaid-kenta-kurahashi
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.

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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

Japan’s e-commerce analytics startup Plaid raises $1.5M from Femto Growth Capital

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This is the abridged version of our original article in Japanese. Tokyo-based Plaid, a startup developing a real-time analytics platform for e-commerce sites, announced that it has raised 150 million yen (approximately $1.5 million) from Japanese investment funds Femto Growth Capital and Femto Startup. Corresponding with this announcement, Femto group’s general partner, Tetsuya Isozaki, joined the company’s management board. Plaid will use the funds to strengthen its engineering forces to accelerate system development. The company’s analytics platform is called Karte. By inserting a single line code into every page of an e-commerce site, users can gain insight into the demographics of typical e-commerce site customers by providing metrics, such as their conversion rates, number of visits, or category of products customers usually check out (see below). The company’s CEO Kenta Kurahashi explained what they are aiming at with the platform: Our system allows you to see every single behavior of your online customers. So I believe that it helps you give your customers shopping experiences like what they usually have at real stores. Once you figure out what kind of people are visiting your site, the platform’s ‘recipe’ feature allows you to present reward campaigns or notifications to selected segments…

karte-image1

This is the abridged version of our original article in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Plaid, a startup developing a real-time analytics platform for e-commerce sites, announced that it has raised 150 million yen (approximately $1.5 million) from Japanese investment funds Femto Growth Capital and Femto Startup.

Corresponding with this announcement, Femto group’s general partner, Tetsuya Isozaki, joined the company’s management board. Plaid will use the funds to strengthen its engineering forces to accelerate system development.

The company’s analytics platform is called Karte. By inserting a single line code into every page of an e-commerce site, users can gain insight into the demographics of typical e-commerce site customers by providing metrics, such as their conversion rates, number of visits, or category of products customers usually check out (see below).

karte-image2

The company’s CEO Kenta Kurahashi explained what they are aiming at with the platform:

Our system allows you to see every single behavior of your online customers. So I believe that it helps you give your customers shopping experiences like what they usually have at real stores.

Once you figure out what kind of people are visiting your site, the platform’s ‘recipe’ feature allows you to present reward campaigns or notifications to selected segments of customers on your website.

The company was launched back in October 2011 by CEO Kenta Kurahashi who previously worked at Rakuten for specializing in their e-commerce marketing and analytics initiatives.