Vineyard Capital, Detroit Venture Partners Lead $5M Round for Reach Influence

Royal Oak, MI-based retail analytics firm Reach Influence announced yesterday that it has closed a $5 million funding round led by Vineyard Capital Group, which is based in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Detroit Venture Partners also participated in the round.

Eric Green, CEO of Reach Influence, says the investment comes with an invitation to locate in downtown Detroit. Green expects to decide by spring whether that means relocating wholesale from Royal Oak or opening a second office in Detroit.

Since 2012, Vineyard Capital has been guiding the company’s transition from a “loyalty 1.0” reward fulfillment company to one that employs more sophisticated analytics to help smaller retailers connect with customers.

In a press release, Rich Helppie, Vineyard Capital’s managing partner, said that Reach Influence has done a “terrific job in gaining hundreds of new locations and simultaneously establishing a new standard in analytics and integrated data services for the independent retailer.”

Green says Reach Influence realized a few years ago that it was sitting on a mountain of data about store transactions and what particular shoppers were buying. “We thought, what if we’re able to connect with those shoppers and message them appropriately?” Green says. “We started having success and building different ways to segment shoppers.”

The goal of Reach Influence, Green explains, is to marry a shopper’s influence with empirical data to create marketing and merchandising programs for stores that often aren’t large enough to have their own in-house marketing departments.

“Data is the center of everything we do,” Green adds. “While we concentrate on grocers, the things we’re doing can apply to any end-shopper. Because we have all that data, we’re doing more on the merchandising side involving elasticity of price, how many different brands of paper towel a store carries, and that sort of thing. It’s in some ways easier because it doesn’t involve shoppers, just a little more math.”

The Reach Influence team now has 22 employees, and Green says the company plans to hire “across the board” in 2015.

Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET_AA

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