AreaMetrics, which uses location and other data to help stores optimize their layout to match customer preferences, has raised $2 million in a seed funding round led by two Silicon Valley venture firms, Startup Capital Ventures and Quest Venture Partners.
The new cash will be spent on hiring, plus technology and business development, said Carey Bennett, co-founder and chief operating officer of AreaMetrics, in an interview with GeekWire. The company is looking to hire 6-8 employees within the next year, expanding beyond its three co-founders, in addition to growing its customer base, she said.
Originally, the company was headquartered in Hawaii, where it went through the Blue Startups venture accelerator, but relocated earlier this year to Seattle to have better access to talent, Carey Bennett said. Currently, AreaMetrics is located in the WeWork co-working space at Westlake Tower.
AreaMetrics works with retail stores, restaurants, and shopping malls, analyzing customer foot traffic to understand what floors and sections of a retail store shoppers visit. The information collected by AreaMetrics comes from customers who have downloaded the apps of particular businesses and who have enabled location information, which pings nearby Bluetooth beacons that send data to AreaMetrics, Bennett said.
The company also has access to basic information about customers like age and gender. From this data, which is all anonymized, the startup identifies trends in how particular groups of people interact with businesses’ physical spaces to help those companies to tailor their layout and product placement to customer preferences.
“The customers we track are the customers who use the apps, so they are the elite customers, the most loyal,” Bennett said. “We basically administer a customer survey without having to repeatedly bombard loyal customers about their opinions. This way, retail stores can learn about their customers to make their experiences more efficient without having to constantly ping them.”
The startup was founded by two others in addition to Carey Bennett: Brandon Bennett, who is the company’s CEO; and Alan Solidum, who is its CTO.
The company’s customers include regional stores for Ruby Tuesday and Marriott Hotel, among others. AreaMetrics also is in the middle of a pilot with an international retailer, whose identity was not disclosed. This pilot will help AreaMetrics expand beyond the regional stores to serve businesses in all of their U.S. locations, Bennett said. According to a study from Deloitte, cited by AreaMetrics, digitally-influenced sales in retail brick-and-mortar stores is a high-growth area and will reach $2.2 trillion by year-end.
“Our big vision is to really help personalize the physical world for people,” Bennett said. “Imagine going to an art museum, and they understand your preferences and likes based on your location data and behavior, so when you walk into an art gallery, you can have a personalized experience based on your habits. That could be your experience everywhere.”