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Big Data Startup NGDATA Raises $3.3M For Lily, Its Real-Time Customer Offer Generator

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Belgium-based big data startup NGDATA, which also has offices in New York and San Francisco, has closed a $3.3 million funding round, led by Capricorn Venture Partners. Existing investors also participated, including Sniper Investments and unnamed angel investors. The new funding brings NGDATA’s total raised to date to $5.8 million, after a $2.5 million round last October.

NGDATA’s flagship product is a customer intelligence offering called Lily which it sells in to enterprises so they can aggregate multiple customers data-points to target marketing at individual users and personalise offers to drive more sales.

For example, the system can be used to recommend which offers (such as coupons) to push to a mobile user — based on their real-time location, say. Or send relevant offers like an umbrella coupon if it’s raining. Other examples of data Lily looks at includes group/peer behaviour and users’ past shopping preferences.

Big data — as a term — can come across as impenetrable and dull but it’s algorithms like this that are going to be powering our ambient info-packed future. Here’s how NGDATA itself describes Lily:

Lily uses powerful machine learning engine to provide consumer-oriented enterprises with actionable insights gleaned from billions of unstructured and structured items stored in internal databases, operations systems, POS systems, social media sites, mobile traffic and web video sites. Lily allows companies to create timely, impactful and highly personalized online and mobile campaigns that reach the right consumer at the right time, with the right offers. Lily is built on Apache Hadoop and HBase technology and integrates with an existing IT infrastructure.

Channels that Lily can tap up include data contained in subscriber databases and CRM systems; behavioural and transactional data including calls, texts, payments, iDTV, credit card transactions; contextual data such as weather, geo-location, or “inferable context” such as social sentiment or network data; logs from online and mobile applications; third party data such as socio-demographic data; and social media data.

Using all the data it continually gathers (via the channels it listens in on), the system builds detailed customer profiles for each customer. It then applies machine-learning to determine an individual preference score for each available offer — the scores are then used to personalize offers, either online and on mobile devices. The targeted data can also be served to traditional marketing (campaign platforms) through APIs.

NGDATA said it will use the new funding for continued product development on Lily, and also to bolster the business momentum it’s achieved over the past 12 months. The startup has expanded its global footprint over the past year, opening multiple offices in the U.S. and entering into a series of strategic partnerships with companies including Clear2Pay and Cloudera. In the latter instance, NGDATA said it has developed “sophisticated indexing capabilities” for Cloudera Search, aka “full-text, interactive search and scalable indexing to Apache Hadoop”.

NGDATA is not currently breaking out customer numbers but claims to have seen “significant traction” in industries including financial services, telecom and media/publishing over the past year. De Persgroep, France Telecom, KBC, Orange and Telenet are among the customers it has named. It lists its main competitors as Datameer, Wibidata, Spire, SAS and Teradata.

Commenting on the funding round in a statement, Katrin Geyskens, Partner at Capricorn Venture Partners, said: “We’re seeing a shift in the Big Data market, where companies are looking for better ways to capture and analyze data in ways that help them solve real business problems.

“NGDATA brings a unique and effective offering in its Big Data solutions, providing companies with the ability to gain deeper insights into their data — and its growing customer base and revenue streams are testament. We’re thrilled to join NGDATA’s team as the company moves into its next phase of growth and expansion in the U.S.”

As part of its latest funding, NGDATA is adding three new board members to help steer its strategic direction, as well as naming three members to a newly formed NGDATA Advisory Board. William J. Pade, personal investor and partner at Oak Hill Capital Partners; Michael Patsalos-Fox, former senior partner for McKinsey & Company; and Katrin Geyskens, Partner at Capricorn Venture Partners, all join NGDATA’s board.

While Guy Weyns, managing director at Paradigm Capital Investments; Jean Francois Van Kerckhove, vice president of mergers, acquisitions and business development at eBay; and Doug Cutting, chief architect at Cloudera and founder of Hadoop, were named as strategic members of the NGDATA Advisory board.

TechCrunch’s Steve O’Hear contributed to this article