EyeQ Raises $1.2M for Personalized Shopping

[Updated 3/30/15, 12:25 p.m. See below.] The ease and prevalence of online shopping can make it hard for many consumers to see physical stores as anything other than show rooms.

One Austin, TX, company, eyeQ, is attempting to bring consumers back to physical retail stores by using data about the shoppers themselves. The company’s technology offers restaurants including Fuddruckers and retailers including Sears Hometown and Outlet touch-screen tablets that the businesses can place near products, allowing customers to browse through information about its in-store products such as reviews, specifications, and social media content. At the same time, EyeQ’s technology, which it calls eyeQinsights, gathers information about the shoppers, in order to make recommendations to give them a “personalized” shopping experience.

EyeQ is announcing a $1.2 million funding round on Monday from Corsa Ventures, DreamIt, Houston Angel Network, South Coast Angel Network, and other angel investors. The company plans to use the money to add to its customer base, which it says already includes multiple Fortune 50 brands.

EyeQ’s devices—which can range in size from a tablet to a 42-inch touch screen—can capture age and gender, as well as pick up a smartphone signal, “(but never the identity!) of the individual standing in front of it,” the company says on its website. The eyeQ technology can also track how and how long the customer is engaging with the technology, the company says. [Updates to clarify size of touch-screen devices.]

It uses the device’s camera and a wireless connection to collect the information, which is the basis for predicting what will be most useful details about a product to provide that specific customer, the company says in a tutorial video.

If the device reminds you of something straight out of a sci-fi movie, maybe “Minority Report,” you’re not alone: eyeQ’s marketing team wrote a blog post about the similarities between personalized marketing and marketing tools depicted in that film earlier this month. EyeQ notes in the post that many believe directed marketing may make advertising more pervasive, though it believes advertising will just be more relevant to people. (The post doesn’t dwell on the fact that the movie’s portrayal of such technology was, shall we say, not entirely positive.)

Founded in 2012, eyeQ is a member of the Austin Technology Incubator and a 2014 graduate of DreamIt Ventures’ accelerator in Austin. Companies get up to $25,000 in seed funding when participating in DreamIt programs.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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