Dunnhumby Ventures, Led by Balter, Looking for a Few Good Retail Startups

9/24/13Follow @gthuang

In case you’ve been wondering what Dave Balter is up to, I have the answer: running a new seed-stage investment fund out of Boston.

Balter (pictured) was the founder and CEO of BzzAgent, the Boston-based marketing firm that was acquired by Dunnhumby (a subsidiary of U.K. retail giant Tesco) in 2011. He’s a well-known angel investor and startup advisor.

Now he has transitioned to a new role as global head of investments at Dunnhumby. That means he is leading Dunnhumby Ventures, a new fund that invests in retail technology startups.

In a blog post, Balter writes that the fund “aims to back dozens of entrepreneurs” over the next few years. Target investments are in the sub-$500K range. It sounds like the big goal here is to find startups and entrepreneurs who have a shot at reinventing retail, through analytics and advertising technologies and new business models.

Balter remains involved with Smarterer, Boston Seed Capital, and other companies.

Dunnhumby Ventures’ first three announced investments are in InfoScout (analytics for brands), Coherent Path (analytics for retailers), and The Shelf (native ads for brands, and pricing across retailers). From what I can tell, Coherent Path is based in the Boston area, and the other two are in California.

Balter is being his usual open self when he writes that when Dunnhumby bought BzzAgent, “I wasn’t entirely sure if they truly believed in innovation. Hell, I wasn’t even sure if two years later I’d still be with the company.”

Well, he is—and he shows no signs of slowing down. Of course, a fair question to ask is, does Boston (or anywhere) need another seed-stage fund?

Answer: it shouldn’t hurt.

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 or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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