GeoDisrupting Commerce: IoT, Beacons, Robots

GeoDisrupting Commerce: Iot, Beacons, Robots

retail-iot-market-map

 

These are the top companies bridging the physical and digital worlds, based on CB Insights.

Company Chart

Retail IoT Company List
Company Category Select Investors
Hiku At-Home Shopping Buttons Otter Rock Capital, Plug and Play Accelerator, Firsthand Technology Value Fund
Kwik At-Home Shopping Buttons Norwest Venture Partners, NFX Guild
Crowder Beacon Analytics And Marketing Wearable IoT World Labs
Estimote Beacon Analytics And Marketing Bessemer Venture Partners, Innovation Endeavors
Footmarks Beacon Analytics And Marketing Commerce.Innovated
Freedom Smart Labs Beacon Analytics And Marketing Kapil Goel
Kimetric Beacon Analytics And Marketing Microsoft Ventures Accelerator
Minodes Beacon Analytics And Marketing MarketTech
Monolith Beacon Analytics And Marketing Startup Wise Guys
Movvo Beacon Analytics And Marketing Caixa Capital
Proxidyne Beacon Analytics And Marketing Undisclosed
Radius Networks Beacon Analytics And Marketing Core Capital Partners, Contour Venture Partners
Resun8 Beacon Analytics And Marketing Undisclosed
Sensorberg Beacon Analytics And Marketing WestTech Ventures, Berlin Technologie Holdings
Swirl Networks Beacon Analytics And Marketing Twitter Ventures, Longworth Venture Partners, Softbank Capital
Euclid Analytics Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics Harrison Metal, NEA, Benchmark
Innorange Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics Undisclosed
Measurence Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics Undisclosed
RetailNext Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics August Capital, Commerce Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners, StarVest Partners
Scanalytics Inc. Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics Wearable IoT World Labs
Tamecco Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics Yume no Machi SoZo Iinkai
Torch Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics Target Accelerator Program
VideoMining Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics Ben Franklin Technology Partners
Viewsy Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics Qualcomm Ventures, Kima Ventures
Walkbase Beacon- And Sensor-Based Analytics SBT Venture Capital
Aislelabs Beacon-Based Marketing Salesforce Ventures, Rho Ventures
Beabloo Beacon-Based Marketing Baozun
Bfonics Beacon-Based Marketing Undisclosed
Blue Bite Beacon-Based Marketing Undisclosed
ConnectQuest (CQ) Beacon-Based Marketing Undisclosed
Ebizu Beacon-Based Marketing Cradle Fund
Ifinity Beacon-Based Marketing SpeedUp Venture Capital Group
Shelfbucks Beacon-Based Marketing Capital Factory
Aisle411 Indoor Mapping Cultivian Ventures, St. Louis Arch Angels
Cartogram Indoor Mapping Undisclosed
Indoora Indoor Mapping Startupbootcamp Smart Transportation & Energy
Cosy Inventory Tracking 500 Accelerator
QueueHop Inventory Tracking Y Combinator
Carttronics Loss Prevention Undisclosed
Gatekeeper Systems Loss Prevention Undisclosed
Fellow Robots Service Robots HAX, Crowdfunder
Simbe Robotics Service Robots HAX
Oak Labs Smart Dressing Rooms Wing Venture Capital, R/GA Accelerator

 

Winning

Winning.

A path to market leadership.   I look for this in every investment I make.

“It’s a big industry…there will be many players…we just need a x% slice and we will be a success.”  What b.s.   That a prescription to be one of the 9 in 10 early stage companies that fail and fail soon.

A great idea is the first step, but  there are lots of smart people out there and their attention is often focused on the same problems at around the same time.  At the dawn of search, there was Infoseek, Alta Vista, Dogpile, Excite, Lycos and others.  Now google dominates.  When it comes to profitability, the winner takes it all, and the runner ups are burning cash trying to catch up.

number one“Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”  So said Vince Lombardi.*

Information and intelligence can spread like wildfire. Network effects are an accelerant.  The biggest network quickly becomes the most useful and shortly the only one needed.  Market share and profitability correlate.  The premium to being #1 is increasing all the time.

Sure, there exceptions, like when the relevant market is just your local neighborhood, and there is a dry cleaner on every block.  But the most attractive markets are national and global.

 

What does this mean to an early stage investor?  That is a full topic for another day, but I’d rather hear “We want to be #1 and here’s how” instead of seeing an entrepreneur wave a giant red flag with “We just need our share.”

——

*And UCLA’s Red Sanders…read “What it takes to be Number One” if you are interested.

Why SMB Digital Marketing is a Huge Opportunity

Hard to believe, but 63% of local businesses still have no website, despite the evidence that 88% of local mobile searches for a business result in a visit or call to that store in the next 24 hours.  And 25% of local businesses don’t show up at all in search results.  While there are now a glut of competitors, SMB digital marketing is still a huge opportunity.  This infographic from Marketecture has the data and sources.

SmallBusiness_Infographic

Investing in the Future of Shopping

 from Streetfight 16 JUNE 2014 BY 

Discounts. Shopping cart and cubes with percentWhat happens when you combine some of the largest and glitziest shopping malls in America – places like Copley Place in Boston, the Houston Galleria, the Stanford Shopping Center, the Westchester, and Tanger Outlet Centers – with tens of millions in investment capital in early stage digital shopping ventures? That is exactly what J. Skyler Fernandes is charged with figuring out as the head of Simon Venture Group, the new venture arm of Simon Property Group, the largest real estate investment trust in the US and the top owner of shopping malls.

A few months ago, I predicted in Street Fight that “2014 would be the year that hyperlocal goes indoors,” and “the battle will turn to reaching the shopper walking in the mall and right in front of the shelf.” Simon Venture Group is looking to invest $250,000 to $5 million per company in up to 50 companies over the next 5 years to do precisely that. Fernandes is presciently focusing on 5 areas for new investment, all of which are aimed to use the web to improve in-store shopping:

1. In-Store Data Analytics. It is ironic that data analytics for e-Commerce companies has far surpassed that of most retailers, with the exception of the largest retail chains like Macy’s and Walmart. Nomi, Euclid, RetailNext, Path Intelligence, MotionLoft and other companies are working to connect the cloud of purchase history and intent with individual bodies walking into and through stores, hoping to return some of the in-store shopping momentum that Amazon has captured.

2. Malls as Delivery Centers. With your nearby mall stocked full of inventory, why should Amazon and all of its partners be faster with next-day delivery? What about same-day, local delivery? In 2013, Simon invested in Deliv, a company which does same-day delivery from local malls, and is continuing to explore this arena.

3. The Internet of Things (IOT) in your Mall. One of my personal reasons for disliking retail shopping is how difficult it is to find your way around a large, crowded mall. Mobile devices offer the potential to change that, but the technology has to catch up to deliver more precise indoor location. Fernandes says we are still 12-24 months away from a good solution for in-store. Meanwhile, Simon recently invested in digital eyewear solution company Augmate to assist sales associates in finding you the right size and color from their shelves.

4. Building Mall Loyalty and In-Store Incentives. Retailers like ShopRite and Starbucks have done well with loyalty systems for frequent shoppers, but it is relatively rare for nearby stores to collaborate on loyalty programs. Traffic and sales in shopping malls tend to rise in step across stores, and Simon is looking for new solutions to break down data silos across stores and incentivize and reward frequent mall shoppers.

5. Improving Payment Technology. As with in-store data analytics, many mall retailers lack a complete solution linking register payments and inventory management systems, and are falling behind the best e-commerce companies. Mobile payments have been slow to come to the US, but Simon sees a better possibility for companies that link payments and a systemic retailer supply chain solution.

Corporate VCs have had uneven financial returns, but Simon is basing its new venture group on a study of best practices across successes like Google Ventures, Comcast Ventures, and Intel. One lesson is to keep the investing scope broad enough to cover adjacent sectors, and not limit deals to companies that are takeover targets or essentially outsourced business development. Simon has a window on the future of shopping, a great platform to help in-mall companies get established, and appropriate focus on ROI as its core metric of success. As the only corporate VC fund backed by a major shopping mall company, its investments should be of interest to Street Fight readers.

As for my other 2014 predictions, I also wrote that Street Fight would spin off a new site called Bar Fight. That prediction is still open.

Jason KleinJason E. Klein is the founder/CEO of On Grid Ventures LLC, and investment and advisory firm focused on the startup and reinvention of businesses capitalizing on digital and location-based technologies.  He is also the Chairman of Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of Greater New York. Follow him on twitter @JKNews.

The Falling Knife in Newspapers is … Rising?

In a booming year for the stock market, newspaper stocks actually more than DOUBLED the return of the S&P 500.  Newspaper stocks rose by 79% in a year when the S&P 500 rose by just under 30%, a whopping performance few would have predicted.newspaper stocke

While there are many one-off reasons for this, including solvency concerns at the two companies at the extremes, Lee and McClatchy, the bottom line is that Wall Street thinks the long term decline of revenues may be near bottom as print declines are close to being outweighed by consumer and digital revenue increases.

Rick Edmonds at Poynter also points out that Gannett, Journal Communications, and E. W. Scripps also benefited from their re-surging local TV businesses.  But, take a look at the graph below from Google finance– the growth in stock prices was broad-based and steady throughout the year, with every newspaper company except McClatchy beating the market.Capture gchartWith Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos buying into the industry as a long term play, the broader financial markets are following suit.  The newspaper industry is getting some of its most positive signs in years.

But what is the reality?  Newspaper companies are increasingly refusing to share their detailed revenue data, so the fact base is thinning.  And many newspaper executives still do not see the end of inexorable revenue declines.

Falling Knife

Falling Knife Rising?

But there is a growing optimism that a new, stronger, multi-media newspaper is emerging, building upon a resilient core of loyal print readers, and that the falling knife in newspapers can, indeed, be caught by the best operators who can pick and own the best markets, and discard the rest.  As we begin 2014, this is the prevailing belief of today’s newspaper investor. The challenge is on to see which newspaper operators can deliver.

Implications for Local Digital Entrants.  The strongest newspaper companies have the lead position in local digital content in their markets, with some even pursuing a broader footprint like nj.com from the Star-Ledger.  As I wrote about five years ago, the consolidation of the newspaper industry is inevitable and ongoing, and now is extending to a consolidation of local online with the retrenchment of Patch and others.  Local digital entrants face a choice:  build your own local sales channel, or partner.  For those players who thought the knife would fall through the floor, and newspapers were headed to fast destruction, the choice was clear — go it alone…why partner with a loser?  If, as some of the “smart money” seems to believe, the knife’s decline is slowing and about to reverse, then local digital entrants’ best route to scaling may be finding the right legacy partner.

The Billion Dollar Opportunities in Hyperlocal

With Google’s acquisition of Waze earlier this year, local tech is back in the limelight. During a panel at Street Fight Summit in New York last month, Matt Turck of First Mark Capital, Ben Siscovick of IA Ventures, and Jason Klein from On Grid Ventures discussed where the Billion Dollar Opportunities are these days in the geo-space.

Click to play the Street Fight Summit 2013 panel on You Tube.JEK StreetFight 2013

GeoIntent: Going to Where the Puck Will Be

GeoDisruption

reposted from Streetfight

BY JASON E. KLEIN

04 SEPTEMBER 2013

In my last column for Street Fight, How the GeoWeb Will Change Consumer and Business Behavior, I talked about how location-based technologies will continue to be a dislocating force across B2B, B2C, and C2C Markets.  So what can make a business geo-disruptive?  Beyond location awareness, it is far more important to know where a person is headed and his needs and wants at the destination.  Let’s call this “GeoIntent.”

Consider OpenTable, the dining reservation booking engine. It’s an excellent example of a multi-platform application that requires users to express their intent for dining — in terms of travel distance, timing, type of cuisine, and potentially many other factors. OpenTable is opt-in, and the user readily volunteers his geo-intent in as much detail as he or she is willing to share. While restaurants may dislike splitting a booking fee with OpenTable, isn’t this better than a world where geo-intent is unknown, and mobile devices are bombarded with tiny, irrelevant banner ads when you are within range of a seemingly clueless advertiser?

For the geo and mobile world to move towards its promise, web designers should be focusing more on creating engaged, opt-in behavior, and gaining robust information on GeoIntent.  With better information on geo-intent, solutions can be well targeted, and privacy concerns are more likely to fade.

I recently came across a very clever early stage company called Transit Chatter that’s a wonderful illustration of using predictive analytics to determine geo-intent. Transit Chatter is designed to be the app for everyone riding the Chicago Transit system, which, unlike New York, has most of its riders above ground getting a live mobile signal. The app knows where you are going and when you will get there, and provides timely information and advertising based on this geo-intent. Plus, it reaches commuters when they are highly likely to be engaged in their mobile devices, without a TV in the background. Once the commuter is disembarking from the train or bus, and caught in the rush of the crowd, it’s too late.

Waze, the Israeli crowd-sourced navigation app that Google just purchased for $966 million, also has real-time information on where you are headed, but an engaged mobile user on a traditional mobile device should not be in the driver’s seat of a moving vehicle. There is geo-intent in the app, but engagement at the wrong time can be life-threatening. Waze, of course, offers other advantages to Google in terms of keeping its geo-data robust, and Google wants to replace human drivers anyway.

Other notable examples of geo-intent include weather.com, which elicits information on your destination and activities, and, of course, numerous travel sites.  All these companies are a great example of Wayne Gretzky’s advice: “Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”

The risk of focusing myopically on where the puck, or an individual, is at a particular moment, is that by the time you message gets there, it’s marginally relevant at best, annoying and creepy at worst. Poorly targeted mobile ads, particularly ones that are supposedly more clever and disruptive, are the enemy of enterprises that relay on consumer’s opting in to truly useful geo-applications.

One final note, congratulations to Jumptap, cited in my last column as strong “geo-infrastructure” provider who offers marketers new ways to make location relevant, which was sold to Millennial Media in a deal valued up to $225 million in August.

JEK Goodman Headshot Compressed SquareJason E. Klein is the founder/CEO of On Grid Ventures, an investment and advisory firm focused on the startup and reinvention of businesses capitalizing on digital and location-based technologies.  Follow him on twitter @JKNews.

Mobile Devices are really “Mobile Home”

girl-couch-using-mobile-phone-10815076A new Nielsen study puts to rest the common theme that mobile use is typically “on the go,” particularly with regards to shopping behavior.

A whopping 95% of tablet shoppers and 72% of smartphone shoppers who actually use their devices for purchasing do it on devices in their home.  Some other uses of smart phones in the home:

  •  86% of writing product reviews on a smartphone is in the home
  • 71% of posting comments on a product to a social network on a smartphone is in the home
  • 62% of reading product reviews on a smartphone is in the home.

What shopping behaviors on smartphones are done on the go?

  • 50% of price-checking on a smartphone is on the go
  • 56% of store locator usage on a smartphone is on the go

So, as pointed out in Mediapost, mobile is not mobile:

“Home is where the device is most of the time and where people have the time and inclination to drill deep. They also remind us that devices have become the go-to point of entry for online information, replacing the most uncomfortable way yet devised for consuming content — the desktop PC.  But most of all, they remind us how much of shopping is an iterative, multi-screen process that occurs over time.”

Image - couch potatoAny couch potatoes out there?  What is easier when reclining, browsing on your mobile device or tapping on your laptop?

How the GeoWeb Will Change Consumer and Business Behavior

Reposted from Street Fight.

How the GeoWeb Will Change Consumer and Business Behavior

30 JULY 2013 BY 

The new Google Maps personalized interface.For about 2000 years, ever since Ptolemy wrote his treatise Geographia, maps and geography have helped humans understand their surroundings in the context of their neighbors, their town, their country, the Earth, and the Universe. For about 400 years, since Mercator figured out how to portray the curved Earth on a flat piece of paper, not much changed in the world of geography — until the launch of 24 GPS satellites by the U.S. Department of Defense about 30 years ago.

Digital location-based technologies are now a transformative force for consumers and businesses, particularly when coupled with the rapid adoption of mobile and the growth of big data. I’m a big believer in the future for “GeoDisruption” — the potential for consumers and businesses to interact in fundamentally new ways to take advantage of increasingly precise location-based technologies.

This is the debut of a column I’ll write for Street Fight exploring the growth of the “GeoWeb” and the emergence of GeoDisruptive trends and companies. When I’m not writing columns, I am the CEO/founder of On Grid Ventures, an investment and advisory firm focused on digital and location-based technologies.

GeoDisruption:  Where we are
Location-based technologies have already been a dislocating force in many industries.

  • Automobile marketing at the local level used to be all about newspapers and television, and companies like AutotraderCars.com, and Autobytel have used geo-based lead generation to irrevocably shift in-market auto buyers and local car marketing spending to the GeoWeb.
  • GPS has made paper maps obsolete.
  • General B2C platforms like Yelp are changing the way we evaluate local services.
  • Vertical B2C platforms like OpenTable are changing the way we find and book nearby restaurants.

The major portals and aggregators are all making increasing bets on the potential for GeoWeb.  Google, with Google Maps and Places; Yahoo, with its leadership position in local news and content aggregation; IAC, with CityGrid and UrbanSpoon; and AOL with Patch.Google’s recent acquisition of Israeli startup Waze for over $1 billion is a high-water mark in the development of the GeoWeb as it affirms the importance of user-generated, location-based content.

GeoDisruption:  Where we’re headed
While the growth ambitions of Google, Yahoo, and others will continue to be fed with more acquisitions of GeoWeb companies, the application of location-based technologies is increasing more broadly in three areas: Business-to-Consumer, Business-to-Business, and Consumer-to-Consumer.

  1. B2C marketing (i.e., GeoMarketing) will continue to be transformed as innovative companies apply location-based technologies to how they acquire, transact with, and retain customers. GeoMarketing will be essential for most local retail and service businesses, and the landscape is ripe for vertical players in areas beyond automotive and restaurants, across the entire local landscape. Early stage companies like BeautyBooked are already trying to become the dominant search and booking platform in verticals like place-based salon services. ReachLocal and Yodleare growing fast as companies that help local businesses reach consumers, and national marketers are increasingly shifting dollars to locally targeted digital marketing and promotion.
  2. C2C interaction (i.e., “GeoSocial”) can also be further shaped as individuals increasingly become comfortable with sharing their location with family, friends, colleagues, and people with similar interests. Foursquare has jumped to an early lead as the platform for consumers to share their location, but Facebook, Google, and others are gaining fast.
  3. B2B companies that enable location-based innovation (i.e., “GeoInfrastructure”) continue to be a hotbed for venture investment.  Location itself is nice, but it needs to be in the context of an individual, the surrounding locations, time of day, and other factors.  This all needs to be accomplished respecting an individual’s privacy. Companies like Jumptap and Place IQ are finding new ways to provide marketers with context that makes location relevant.

While I have a background in computer science, I’ve never been a fan of pure technology. I am a believer, however, in the potential for increasingly accurate digital, location-based, real-time data to better inform the decisions we all make every day on where to go, with whom, what to buy, and other areas. The rapid proliferation of mobile devices is certainly an enabler, but the greatest innovation will come from insights into how a consumer’s behavior varies based on his or her specific location. We’re now a long way from zip-code targeting, and more GeoDisruption is on its way.

Jason E. KleinJason E. Klein is the founder/CEO of On Grid Ventures, and investment and advisory firm focused on the startup and reinvention of businesses capitalizing on digital and location-based technologies.  Follow him on twitter @JKNews.

Why Google’s Acquisition of Waze is a Game Changer

From a recent article in Forbes, here are several reasons why Google’s acquisition of Waze will be a game changer.waze

  • Waze’s community of users is key to helping Google achieve its next big goal: mapping how we move.  Waze simply collects GPS data from its 50 million users. Anyone who drives with the Waze app turned on is passively providing data that the company can use to better understand not only the world that user is driving through, but their intent.
  • Waze is one of only four major companies that built its own extensive maps of the world, the others being TomTom, Navteq and Google. “Just like search became the interface for monetization on the web, maps are going to be a big part of the monetization engine for mobile,” he said, “because that’s what you open when you’re going places.
  • Waze grows organically every day.  Wave’s Wikipedia-style structure of day-to-day contributors, who make up about 10% of users, and voluntary editors, who make up a tinier percent, allows it to chart new roads in new countries, and even include roadblocks and construction zones.
  • Waze understands the intent of its users. “Now that I know where you drive, I can begin offering you deals, I can begin enhancing the experience.”  When a Waze driver in the U.S. is stopped at a light or parked, they’ll often see a ad pop up for Taco Bell, Starbucks or AT&T.  Nearly all Waze’s ads are based on location, cross referencing where the Wazer and advertiser are in a given moment.  The Holy Grail here was cross referencing all of that GPS data with another component: the consumer’s destination, or intention. “If you’re driving to work it’s a different experience than if you’re driving to [the American department store] Macy’s,” said Bardin.