Versium Analytics, a new startup led by former InfoSpace executives Chris Matty and Kevin Marcus, is just three weeks old. But the Redmond company has already locked up one customer — and is in discussions with a handful of others — as it rolls out new methods for making sense out of massive amounts of marketing data.
Matty and Marcus, who left daily deal startup BigTip to start Versium, said they came up with the idea after being contacted by colleagues and friends for help on similar problems.
“I had people who were emailing me and asking me, saying: ‘Hey, Kevin, is this something you can do for me, or can you do it on the side?’” said Marcus, who previously co-founded Intelius and served as chief software architect at InfoSpace. “It is pretty obvious that there’s a need for these types of analytics, or at least the people who may be providing them, aren’t servicing their customers well enough. So, to me, that spells big opportunity.”
What’s the opportunity? Versium is developing machine-learning technologies to help marketers make more sense of the data they are collecting.
“We are able to say: ‘OK, if you have these five or six pieces of information, we can enhance that with another 100 pieces of data that will help you further identify who your ideal customers are and ultimately who your top converters are,” said Matty.
For example, he said a law firm that had collected information through Google performance ads for a direct mail campaign could use the service to microsegment the data to target people of a certain age, gender or income. Even more powerful, it can analyze more complex trends such as how often someone changed residences and the value of the homes they lived in, taking into account how one’s life is changing over time.
Using that information, Matty said that they can draw inferences on those timelines of events, making predictions that offer ways for marketers to do even more more refined targeting.
“We are taking a whole bunch of data, we’re processing it and putting it together and then we are doing some analytics that allow microsegmentation,” he said.
Given the response to the service, Matty said there’s no immediate plan to raise venture financing. “It is really surprising how fast things are moving,” he said. “Our game plan right now is we don’t need the capital, but, as you know, if you are in a situation where you have a huge growth opportunity in front of you, then we certainly would explore that.”
There’s no shortage of competition in the arena of “big data,” an area that got a boost this week when President Obama announced a $200 millon R&D initiative around the idea. Versium competes with Targusinfo, which was recently acquired by Neustar, and others.
“Where we are seeing the opening in terms of what people aren’t doing is in the predicitability and their timeline of activity, whether it is historical based on data that you can gather from various means or even timely like a Twitter feed,” said Matty.
The company — comprised of Matty and Marcus — takes its name from the words “verse” — meaning poetic — and “ium” — meaning strength.