Industry: Software and SaaS for retailing
Headquarters: New York, NY
Norwest investments: 2017, 2021
- Scott Beechuk
Bluecore: Revolutionizing e-commerce through hyper-personalization
It’s obvious that retailing is undergoing seismic changes. But in 2013, that wasn’t as clear to everyone as it is today. Back then, Fayez Mohamood looked at the evolving retail environment and instead of seeing existential threats, he saw amazing opportunities. Specifically, he thought email could be much more efficient and effective. Applying his background in engineering, software development, and website creation, he helped start a company that today is Bluecore.
Bluecore’s differentiation is clear: “Unlike systems built for mass marketing and one-and-done transactions, we uniquely unify shopper and product data to predict and deliver the best personalized customer experience whenever shoppers are online.”
While arranging Series C financing in 2017, Mohamood met Norwest partner Scott Beechuk, whose background includes engineering, product development, and leadership positions in fast-growing enterprises. There was an instant connection.
“We at Norwest were convinced even back then that retailing was moving toward a hyper-personalized shopping experience in which companies would understand customers in such a deep way that all the noise and spam of marketing could go away and be replaced with mutually valuable connections,” Beechuk recalls. “We saw the team at Bluecore as having the same vision.”
AI Proves Key to Platform Development
Mohamood and his team recognized that artificial intelligence needed to be a key element in Bluecore’s offering, but at the time the company lacked adequate AI technology. After Norwest participated in the Series C, Mohamood identified AI as an area where Norwest and Bluecore could collaborate, as Beechuk had experience in AI.
“We worked together, and it took years for the Bluecore team to build the AI engine we have today,” Beechuk says. “At Bluecore’s invitation, we spent multiple product planning sessions to think deeply about the right way to build the platform.” Consistent with Norwest’s collaborative investing approach, Beechuk joined Bluecore’s board and continued to offer hands-on help with product strategy upon request
In the end, Bluecore emerged with much more than an email tool. “It’s a full-scale marketing cloud that presents a 360-degree view of customers and prospects, drawing on hundreds of dimensions to connect people and products at just the right time,” Beechuk says. “This gives Bluecore a much larger total addressable market than when they started.”
Bluecore recognizes that “market segments” no longer exist. “Today, everyone is a segment of one,” Beechuk notes. “With Bluecore, a company can send out 300 million emails and each one is unique to a customer or prospect. The results are a win-win for retailers and consumers – more sales, less spam, longer relationships.”
Looking back at the roots of Bluecore, Mohamood is stunned by what’s been achieved. “We knew there was the potential to make e-commerce more effective and efficient, but with the AI-powered platform we have today, the impact on our customers’ businesses is truly revolutionary.”
Global leaders in apparel, beauty, home goods, and gifts – including Express, Tommy Hilfiger, The North Face, Teleflora, Jockey, and Sephora – have seen their sales improve dramatically even as per-unit marketing costs drop.
In 2021, Bluecore made the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 list with sales growth of 376% between 2017 and 2020.
Mohamood acknowledges Norwest’s contributions to Bluecore’s success. “Scott and the Norwest team truly understand the importance of technology in retailing, especially AI. Norwest has been a valuable partner that has supported our vision, helped anticipate industry shifts, and provided tangible assistance in building a groundbreaking platform that adds tremendous value to our customers.”
- Apply AI to customer/prospect data to revolutionize e-commerce
- Create hyper-accurate targeting that dramatically increases conversion rates and customer loyalty
- The concept of customer “market segments” has given way to a “segment of one”
- This necessitates hyper-personalization to elevate and monetize the customer experience
- Market Sizing: AI in Marketing to reach $108M by 2028
- Series C (lead), D and E - totaling $210M
- Capital Markets/M&A
- HR & People Advisory
- PR & Marketing
- Talent & Retention
- Sales growth of 376% between 2017 and 2020, by serving more than 400 of the world’s leading retailers.