With Cyber Monday right around the corner and the holidays coming up, brands are preparing for the rush of online shoppers and getting ready to deliver outstanding, personalised shopping experiences through platforms like RevLifter. This AI, retail tech startup powers hyper-personalised real-time deals at all stages of the customer’s buying journey. RevLifter’s AI algorithm can pinpoint the right deal for the right customer at the right time, and its solution has been so effective at increasing customer conversion rates that clients like Harvey Nichols, Very AT&T, and more have incorporated RevLifter into their commerce platforms. The global e-commerce market is approximately $3T, and as a result of the pandemic, this sector is only expected to expand as the shift to online will be enduring.
London TechWatch caught up with Cofounder and CEO Simon Bird to learn more about how RevLifter boosts e-commerce sales and helps brands maintain a competitive edge in a time where a curated, personalised experience means everything to consumers. We connected with Bird in 2019 after RevLifter’s seed round and the company has now raised a total of £5.6M across two rounds.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We’ve raised £3.3M in Series A round led by a syndicate of new investors who believe our sophisticated e-commerce deals personalisation platform is ready to scale its offer globally. This funding round is led by Gresham House Ventures and Maven Capital Partners, both of whom believe COVID-19 has catapulted the role of greater personalisation for all sectors operating online, particularly retail.
Please tell us about the product or service RevLifter offers.
RevLifter uses AI to send hyper-personalised, real-time deals at all stages of the customer’s buying journey. With such an accelerated shift to online retail over the past few months, our customers are reconfiguring how they view deals and incentives and using the likes of Black Friday and Christmas to turn promotions from ‘loss-leading discounts’ to profitable and strategic marketing imperatives.
What inspired the start of RevLifter?
We started RevLifter in 2017, combining my cofounder Ryan Kliszat’s experience of working in a large e-commerce agency with my experience running an international voucher site. The market wasn’t moving in the way it needed to, there was no personalisation or innovation, so we took matters into our own hands. We spotted the trends and the demands from retailers and hired our first team to build a platform that offered a better way of doing things. Now, three years and £5M in total funding later we’re delivering fantastic results for clients like Harvey Nichols, Very, HP, Currys PC World, and The Hut Group, along with telecoms providers AT&T, BT Broadband and EE,
How is RevLifter different?
Our clients tell us they love the ongoing improvements we’ve made to our product and capability this year. We help them increase conversion rates and average order value across markets, and this means our relationships with them develop. We help them eradicate the wastage associated with blanket promotions and instead offer real-time, hyper-personalised deals that drive up basket value and encourage higher spend per customer.
What market is RevLifter targeting and how big is it?
The global e-commerce market is now worth approximately $3T having experienced steady YoY growth of 15-20% in the last decade. But, at the height of the pandemic, online’s share of revenue jumped to 60% and remains at 40% even after stores reopened.
What’s your business model?
We operate using affiliate marketing but as the market, our clients and product, and retail itself develops, we’ll be considering new models where needed
How has COVID-19 impacted the business?
According to Validify, the independent platform helping consumer brands to source, evaluate and manage the procurement of technology solutions into their businesses, RevLifter’s addressable market has increased in size by 50% in the past six months. According to new data from IBM’s U.S. Retail Index, the pandemic has accelerated the shift away from physical stores to digital shopping by roughly five years. We, and our investors, believe COVID-19 has catapulted the role of greater personalisation for all sectors operating online, particularly retail.
What was the funding process like?
As with our previous funding rounds, we focus on finding investors which added value to our business rather than just providing the funds. We’re delighted to welcome both Gresham House Ventures and Maven Capital Partners into the RevLifter fold. Knowing we have their belief is an amazing validation of our vision.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Time, patience, and splitting your energy between the day to day activity and seeking new funding is always a tricky balance.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Definitely, in part, the surge in online that we’re all seeing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic brings with it increasing customer demands and expectations. The quality of personalised experience that brands need to deliver to customers has never been more important and we meet that need.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
This fundraise will help us accelerate plans for further new features, including a product that will bring our game-changing AI deal personalisation treatment to a ‘basket abandonment emails’ market in need of a shake-up. We’ll also bring innovation to push notifications, product recommendations, and deal personalisation across the whole e-commerce journey. There’ll be more we can reveal at a later date.
What advice can you offer companies in London that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Perhaps consider getting a CBILS loan – we successfully secured a loan from our bank at HSBC. Otherwise, I know a lot of early-stage businesses considering Venture Debt. If you can’t do either of those things my only other recommendation is to cut back on expenses and invest in activities and people that offer an ROI (or a relatively fast pathway to one).
Perhaps consider getting a CBILS loan – we successfully secured a loan from our bank at HSBC. Otherwise, I know a lot of early-stage businesses considering Venture Debt.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
The shift to e-commerce has accelerated at a pace unimaginable before the pandemic. The question retailers face is how to make online shopping profitable. No matter how the market changes and responds, we’ll be developing products and services that help retailers answer that question.
What’s your favorite outdoor activity in London?
Walking the dog! – like a lot of families we invested in a family dog – we bought a 10-week old cockapoo which has been a brilliant addition to the family – and a welcome companion/ distraction to our 6 and 4-year-olds!
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