By Srinath Srinivasan
Helping brands with market intelligence is CommerceIQ’s USP. The Bengaluru-based startup operates at the junction of retail and technology, by offering software products that help brands selling on online marketplaces understand their customers better, get competitive intelligence, manage their inventory and make informed decisions using predictive analysis.
“We integrate with marketplaces on one side and the brands on the other. Usually marketplaces give information to brands but that is limited. The marketplaces are also restricted by policies that do not favour one brand over the other using this kind of intelligence and so they do not sell these services as separate products or add-ons,” says Prasun Kumar, vice-president, engineering and head of India operations, CommerceIQ. With over 120 technical staff in engineering and R&D, the startup aims to double down on its AI capability, adding more context and meaning to what their client brands expect from the technology.
“What we are trying to do is to make AI explain what it is doing. Today, it is more like a black box, you feed data into it and it processes it. Even the technically strong ones find it challenging to interpret what’s going on inside,” says Kumar. “So we can’t expect our customers to understand it themselves. We are working on automating this process, making AI say why it is doing what it is doing, by itself.”
From the market perspective, the company is trying to solve for various geographies, categories and different e-commerce marketplaces and retailers. “Solving for these things will make us truly a platform and scale up really fast,” says Kumar.
With over $80 million raised in funding, the company has set up sales offices overseas as well. “There is a huge demand for our product related to top marketplaces in the world. And a lot of these are in the US. We want to capture them in addition to the Indian/Asian market as well,” says Kumar. According to him, the company has kept doubling its revenue every year and over 90% of customers renew the product subscription. “We all witnessed the surge in e-commerce during the lockdowns and that directly impacted us and continues to do so with great momentum. The kind of growth that one would expect in a decade happened in just 10 months of the pandemic,” says Kumar.
The current talent crunch is a big challenge for CommerceIQ. “It is undeniably one of the most challenging times to find the best talent. We are tweaking our offers to attract the best but the turbulence will continue for a while,” says Kumar.