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Blue sky thinker raises $200,000 to bring Google Analytics-style data to bricks-and-mortar retailers

Friday, 13 March 2015 | By Andrew Sadauskas

David Mah, the co-founder of successful online shopping app Blue Sky, has raised $200,000 in seed funding for his latest venture, which provides Google Analytics-style real-time data to bricks-and-mortar retailers.


Mah told StartupSmart Kepler Analytics uses passive Wi-Fi sensors to help retailers measure and understand real-time customer behaviour on a continuous basis, allowing them to design better experiences for their customers.


“Today, brick-and-mortar retailers are not able to get much feedback on in-store marketing ROI, visual merchandising effectiveness and conversion rates. This is because the current methods, like hiring observers and deploying thermal cameras, are very expensive and time-consuming,” Mah says.


“Kepler is built around low-cost, highly accurate passive Wi-Fi based sensors. It’s a different technology to iBeacons, which are based on Bluetooth. We can achieve accuracy of 85% to 95%, which exceeds the industry requirement of 80% accuracy.”


While privacy is a growing concern for many shoppers, Mah is keen to stress that all the data collected through the platform is completely anonymous, allowing shoppers to remain private.


“We don’t want to know who you are. In fact, our sensors are passive and do not capture any personal information. We only report customer behavioural data on an aggregate level to inform retailers on how to optimise their stores,” he says.


According to Mah, there are three key ways his previous experience with online retail has helped him develop Kepler.


“First, having a retailer contact base. It helps a lot knowing people who can provide good-quality feedback. Secondly, we gained a lot of experience with online analytics, which led us to build a product that could provide the same insight for bricks-and-mortar retailers. And third, by demonstrating to our customers that we can deliver.”


“I co-founded the company with Nigel Ang in January 2015. We have secured seed funding of $200,000 and will be applying for a government innovation grant called the Entrepreneur Infrastructure Program that matches investments dollar-for-dollar.”


Despite only being a couple of months old, the company has hit the ground running, and is already trialling the technology with two national retailers and one international retailer, ahead of an anticipated official release in July. Behind the scenes, Kepler has also assembled a team of experienced retail, engineering and data experts


“We are looking for five more medium-sized retail partners to run trials with and strategic investors who can help accelerate our growth. We want to become the standard for in-store customer analytics in Asia-Pacific.”


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