Blueshift is a startup founded by tech industry veterans who saw first-hand how difficult cross-channel marketing was. They decided to launch a company and build a cross-channel marketing platform from the ground up that uses AI and machine learning to make sense of the growing amount of customer data. Today, the startup announced a $15 million Series B round to keep it going.
The round was led by SoftBank Ventures Asia, a fund focused on AI startups like Blueshift. Previous investors Storm Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners also participated. Today’s investment brings the total raised to $30 million, according to the company.
Company co-founder and CEO Vijay Chittoor says the marketing landscape is changing, and he believes that requires a new approach to allow marketers to take advantage of the multiple channels where they could be engaging with customers from a single tool.
“If you thought about the world of customer engagement at Walmart or Groupon [or any other retailer] 10 years ago, it was primarily an email problem. Today, we as customers, we’re interacting with these brands on not just email, but also on mobile notifications, Facebook custom audiences and WeChat [and across multiple other channels],” he explained.
He says that this has created a lot more data, which it turns out is a double-edged sword for marketing pros. “I think on one end, it’s exciting for a marketer or a CMO to have more data and more channels. It gives them more ways to connect. But at the same time, it’s also more challenging because now you have to make sense of a thousand times more data. And you have to use it intelligently on not just one channel like email, but you’re now trying to make sense of data across 15 different channels,” Chittoor said.
This a crowded field, with big players like Adobe, Salesforce and Oracle, among others, offering similar cross-channel, AI-fueled solutions. In addition, startups are attracting huge chunks of money to attack this problem, including Klayvio pulling in $150 million a couple of weeks ago and Iterable, which landed $50 million last month.
He says his company’s differentiator is the AI piece, and it is this piece that the company’s lead investor in this round has been focusing on in its investments. The company plans to use this round to continue building out its marketing platform and show marketers how to communicate intelligently across channels wherever the consumer happens to be. Customers include LendingTree, Udacity and BBC.