Leipzig, Germany-based Webdata Solutions is another startup playing in the retail intelligence space. The company, founded in 2012 as a spin-off from a Leipzig University research project, provides a big data-based service, called Blackbee, that crawls the web in real-time to enable retailers and manufacturers to keep a better tab on competitors and take action accordingly.
“Webdata Solutions helps retailers and manufacturers to structure huge amounts of product data that is available on the web,” explains founder and CEO Carina Röllig. “With Blackbee, we provide clients an easy to use and effective solution for day-to-day monitoring of their competitor’s price points, automation for pricing management, benchmarking of current market trends, and more.”
With this added ‘intel,’ retailers and manufacturers can then make better strategic and product decisions, and in a data-driven way, to ensure that they remain competitive. What’s also interesting is that this intel goes far beyond pricing information alone.
“We consider that in order to be competitive, retailers and brand manufacturers must consider many types of trends, like emerging product features, up-and-coming product lines, product availability, and much more,” says Röllig. “Our powerful algorithm has the capacity to analyze products based on multiple semantic cues, while older tools simply matched products by reading standard product codes and reported just on price.”
To continue to develop its product offering and for further international expansion, the German startup has closed a €4 million funding round (~$4.5m) led by Paris-based VC Seventure Partners. Others participating in the round include Senovo, and b-to-v Partners, along with previous investor TGFS.
Echoing Röllig’s claims, Seventure Partners’ Wolfgang Krause tells me that WebData Solutions stands out from other offerings, such as Dublin-based Profitero, and U.S. startup Upstream Commerce, because its technology not only allows price monitoring but also automatic price setting, and can also monitor attributes such as colors, brands etc. “This is very unique and we think only Amazon has an internal solution,” he adds.
(Update: Upstream Commerce tells me it does offer automated pricing based on predictive analytics. In addition, its software is also able to “monitor attributes at any level, including color, size, technical specs and more.”)
Webdata Solutions’ Blackbee service is currently available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Turkey. I’m told that the UK is up next, with other European markets and the U.S. planned in the future.