Nike buys an AI startup that predicts what consumers want

Nike’s market cap has swollen past $100 billion, but the shoe company still sees potential to learn more about what customers want and how to source and stock products to meet those needs. The company announced that it has acquired the Boston-area startup Celect to help Nike beef up its predictive analytics strengths.

Like any good Boston startup, Celect’s tech came out of MIT — both of the company’s co-founders were professors there. The startup’s tech focuses on delivering data insights after being fed a bunch of structured and unstructured retail data. These insights allow retailers to see cost/benefit analysis of arranging their inventory, something that might interest Nike, which banked $36.4 billion in revenue last year.

“As demand for our product grows, we must be insight-driven, data-optimized and hyper-focused on consumer behavior. This is how we serve consumers more personally at scale,” Nike COO Eric Sprunk said in a statement.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Celect raised more than $30 million from investors, including August Capital, NGP Capital and Activant Capital. The company most recently closed a $15 million Series C in December of last year.