CQuotient, With $3M from Bain, Looks to Help Retailers Adjust to Customers’ Buying Behavior

1/4/11Follow @gthuang

There’s certainly no shortage of intriguing new tech startups around town. One stealthy company that has come to light in the past week is CQuotient, a Belmont, MA-based developer of analytics software for retailers. The startup confirmed it recently raised $3 million in Series A financing from Bain Capital Ventures.

Founder and CEO Rama Ramakrishnan is a veteran of analytics as applied to business and retail. He was formerly chief scientist and vice president of research and development for ProfitLogic, a price-optimization software company that Oracle acquired in 2005. Joining Ramakrishnan at CQuotient is chief operating officer Graeme Grant, who was most recently the CEO of Allurent, the now-defunct online shopping firm. Grant and Ramakrishnan previously worked together at ProfitLogic (and then Oracle).

CQuotient just started in July, so the company isn’t giving too many specifics about its technology or business strategy. What’s interesting is that it’s riding some big trends in consumer tech, such as personalized shopping and recommendations, more targeted and mobile advertising, and increasing amounts of data on exactly which items people buy, and when and where they buy them. A company that can help retail stores make sense of all those details—and translate them into selling more stuff—stands to do pretty well.

Here’s a transcript of an e-mail chat I had with Ramakrishnan:

Xconomy: Can you describe the genesis of CQuotient?

Rama Ramakrishnan: During my tenure at ProfitLogic, and later in my analytics consulting work with retailers, I became increasingly convinced that looking at the world through a “customer lens” was the answer to a number of challenges retailers face.

While “looking at things from a customer’s point of view” sounds obvious, in reality retailers rarely do it. Instead, they look at high-level product sales and inventory data (e.g., we sold 100 units of Product Y in December) to make decisions. They rarely look at what their individual customers are doing (e.g., those 100 units were sold to 40 customers who each bought one unit and never again, and 20 customers who bought one unit and then returned to buy it twice more on future trips).

I was blown away by what I saw as the untapped value in customer data and started CQuotient in July 2010 with the idea of helping retailers infuse customer insight into every … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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