Most B2B platforms deploy a myriad of tools such as social media ads, push notifications and email marketing to generate traffic and increase sales. But, the conversion of ghost visitors to a website or mobile app into paying customers remains a big challenge.
Bengaluru based Valley Monks claims to offer a solution with its low-code, SaaS based personalisation platform Customfit.ai.
The platform enables users to extract details such as visitor interests, referrals, company details, sectors worked in, whether the person is a first timer or a repeat visitor, and a bunch of other questions. The platform then translates the data into information that can be used by marketing and sales professionals to convert traffic into quality leads.
“The moment a visitor lands on your website, they should feel that the content has been made specifically for them, and that the sales or marketing person sitting behind the screen also knows exactly what to talk about,” Customfit.ai co-founder and CEO Ashwin Kumar said.
Kumar’s journey with Customfit.ai started in December 2018 when he and CTO Shoaib Mohammed, both BITS Pilani alumni and former senior engineers at Bluejeans by Verizon, started a company called Backbuckle.io.
Kumar and Mohammed initially bootstrapped the company and were helped by Amit Saxena, CEO of Sarus, an Atlanta, Georgia, based transaction tax automation company, with an undisclosed angel funding round in December 2018.
Their aim was to help companies develop applications within one week.
“For example, if somebody wants to develop an application like Swiggy, it is not just connecting the delivery executive to the restaurants and customers. It involves other services such as user management, resource management, reviews, ratings, payments and a host of boilerplate services,” he said.
Boilerplate services or boilerplate coding refers to programming that can be used multiple times and adapted to different types of applications for their development.
Backbuckle.io started as a feature-as-a-services platform where the client just needed to focus on building a couple of core services unique to their website. Backbuckle.io provided more than 30 different features and functionalities which would get their application to market faster as compared to coding from scratch.
The founders noticed that out of all the features available, one in particular, personalisation behaviour management services generated the most traction.
“Within three or four months we pivoted from Backbuckle.io to focus on Customfit.ai for personalisation behaviour management services. What helped us the most were the early interactions we had with customers regarding their needs,” Ashwin said.
In September this year, the startup raised an undisclosed sum in a funding round led by Java Capital, an investment syndicate founded by former Kalaari Capital executive Vinod Shankar, Bhargavi V and Karteek Pulapakain. Bhargavi was previously founder of Kount, a company working with startups setting up their finance systems and APIs, and Pulapakain in his previous roles served with HDFC Bank and startup investment platform Lets Venture. The syndicate focuses on sectors such as fintech, healthtech, SaaS and mobile internet startups.
“No code tools that would be useful to designers, free lancers, product managers and marketers to improve their sales have been making inroads at an unprecedented pace. I believe CustomFit.ai gives the control back to marketeers/business teams reducing the dependency on developers,” Shankar told TechCircle at the time of the investment in the startup.
B2B go-to-market play
The personalisation at the backend is carried out by Customfit.ai’s visual editor, which allows marketers to customise elements without any coding, making it agnostic to the front-end and backend technology stack of the client’s website. This also gives Customfit.ai the liberty to integrate seamlessly with any platform such as Wordpress, Webflow, Bubble, Wix and others.
Another factor that sets Customfit.ai apart from its competitors is its focus on the B2B market. Most personalisation tools in the market today target ecommerce and other B2C sectors.
“In the case of ecommerce or B2C applications, it is mostly based on recommendation matching of thousands of products to fit with the particular user amongst billions. In B2B, the dynamics of each customer and the way we engage with customers changes,” Kumar said.
At the backend, the platform utilises a multi-region and multi-cloud cluster that distributes traffic globally without running the risk of centralization of data. The startup utilises technologies such as open source stream processing software platform Apache Kafka, node JS stream Samsa, highly scalable database Apache Cassandra and open source API layer Kong for high availability of intense workloads.
The startup claims to have 20 clients on board, including billing and subscription management platform Chargebee, cloud-based virtual cloud system CallHippo, email customer service collaboration platform HiverHQ and cloud-based e-commerce order management system Unicommerce. It aims to grow the client base to 30 in the next six months.
The company works on a SaaS based revenue model with customised plans based on a combination of the client’s monthly unique website visitors, behavioral events and other website features. Customfit.ai also provides partnership programs for digital marketing agencies by working as a channel partner.
The capital it has just raised from Java will be used to ramp up marketing and sales. “Our focus will be on the US and European markets, with a lion’s share of the funding being deployed in sales and marketing and the rest on R&D,” Kumar said.
“B2B Website personalization is an emerging and niche market, which has just a couple of young companies such as MunityHQ and UseProof,” Kumar said of the company’s competitors. Customfit.ai, he added, is expected to gradually move towards a higher all-commodity volume of up to $25,000 per client and capture revenue upwards of $10-$15 million in the next 3-4 years.
“There are more than 25,000 B2B SaaS companies globally who will sooner or later require personalisation tools. With Covid-19, the market has got reset and the global playing field has been leveled to a large extent,” he said.
According to a March 2020 study by California based Folloze Research, more than 42% of B2B marketers felt their marketing efforts could be more personalised. The study also said that 77% of B2B professionals believe that personalization builds better customer relationships, while 55% said that personalisation can bring in higher conversion rates and growth.
The B2B personalization market is estimated at $1 billion currently and expected to grow to $4 billion by 2022, according to Kumar.