In-store analytics giant RetailNext has tripled its funding by closing a $125 million round, the company announced on Wednesday (April 15).
The Series E round was led by Activant Capital Group, but all RetailNext’s existing investors also participated, including August Capital, StarVest Partners, Nokia Growth Partners, Commerce Ventures, American Express, Pereg Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures. New investor Siguler Guff & Co. also joined the round. Activant founder Steve Sarracino will join the RetailNext board as part of the investment agreement.
RetailNext plans to use most of the funding (which brings RetailNext’s total rise to $184 million) to speed up growth in new markets — including Latin America and emerging markets across the globe — and beef up its presence in North America, Europe, Asia and the Pacific rim. But some of it will go to extending the capabilities of its analytics platform through increased investment in research and development. Along with hiring more engineers, that means pursuing relevant acquisitions.
The company’s value proposition is conceptually simple: Do for brick-and-mortar stores what website analytics does for eCommerce operations. Most of RetailNext’s competitors go after the low-hanging fruit — data from point-of-sale systems, workforce management systems, beacons and tracking of customers’ mobile devices, even continuously tracking RFID tags on merchandise for those merchants that use them.
But RetailNext also depends on automated visual processing of images from video cameras, CEO Alexei Agratchev told VentureBeat. That way, he said, RetailNext can determine if customers are “male or female, where they [went] in the store, how much time they spent” — and continuously scale up the process as new stores are added to the software-as-a-service platform. The company now has more than 160 retail chains as customers, and is adding 1,000 stores per month.
The result is highly detailed data on virtually every customer that walks into a particular retailer’s store. But it also provides RetailNext with data to aggregate for analytics on overall industry patterns, including its monthly Retail Pulse Report, which generates both free publicity and a steady stream of attention from potential new retailer clients.