When looking at the monstrous success of Google’s and Facebook’s ad businesses, most would point out that the core driving factor is their data and how they utilize it. These companies have built massive platforms around offering customized experiences to their users based upon mountains of proprietary information.
To date, that strategy has seemed somewhat limited to new-age technology companies. Crayon Data, a Singapore-based big data and AI startup, is working to change that.
Founded in 2012, Crayon believes that many companies are sitting on valuable data that can be used to better understand and engage customers, they just don’t know it. For example, Crayon’s Ravishankar Krishna points to how their main customer segment, financial institutions have historically interacted with their data to engage customers.
“Previously, much of personalization would be derived from actions taken on a company’s digital assets, like a website or mobile app like clickstream data, what you’ve liked, where you dropped off, etc.”
Crayon, however, looks beyond the obvious and dives deeper into the data each company has. This dive is not just limited to online interaction data; it also includes offline transaction data.
Krishna, who manages sales and business development activities in Asia, continues with the bank example and points to spend data, and the metadata that comes along with it.
“Imagine you have the bank’s credit card. You go use that card at coffee shops on Monday mornings right before heading to work. You then use it for dining, travel, and a host of other activities. Within those purchases are valuable signals that had before been disregarded.”
Using their proprietary AI engine—dubbed maya.ai—Crayon cleans and analyzes all of the data to create detailed profiles of each customer and his or her unique tastes. Companies can then use these profiles to offer more relevant content to users and drive multiple business cases, ranging from increased card spends to engaging at-risk customer segments.
As another member of the sales and business development team, Samarth Bansal, puts it, “Banks are looking for ways to stand out and not be commoditized as another payment mechanism. With Crayon, they’re able to look at the data they already have and bring new offerings to customers based on what those customers enjoy.”
The origin of the company can be traced back to a previous startup Krishna built with Crayon Founder and CEO Suresh Shankar. Prior to this enterprise, the two of them built Red Pill Solutions, a strategy consulting firm that focused on analytic services like marketing and risk analytics. After years of operating and growing that company, they completed an acquisition by IBM in 2010 and rolled the startup into Big Blue’s CRM offering. Through that experience, the team saw how quickly data was exploding and how the old model was not built to handle it, which led to the idea that would become Crayon Data.
Beyond the team, Red Pill’s influence on Crayon can also be seen in the customer base. Red Pill found much success working with financial institutions, a market that Crayon mainly serves as well.
As for what’s next for Crayon, Krishna points to geographic and industry expansion, leveraging AWS’s global reach along the way.
Per Krishna, “Currently, we find most of our clients are in Asia and the Middle East. Soon, we’ll be moving to enter the US market in a big way, as well as expand into other Asian geographies that we previously haven’t focused on, such as Australia and New Zealand. And while we’ve found much success in the financial services industries, we’re actively expanding into other sectors, including e-commerce, as well as travel and hospitality.”
from AWS Startups Blog