Brandyfloss has a sweet surprise for bricks-and-mortar retailers

15 Jan 2018

From left: Brandyfloss co-founders Eoghan Ó Searcóid and Allen Grimm. Image: Brandyfloss

Our Start-up of the Week is Brandyfloss, a Carlow-based data science player focused on making sales and marketing easier for retailers.

“Brandyfloss is web-based software for marketing professionals in retail companies,” said Brandyfloss CEO and co-founder Eoghan Ó Searcóid.

The start-up automates ‘customer segmentation’, which is the dividing of customers into groups for targeted marketing. It produces optimum target groups and provides relevant insights instantly.

‘Brandyfloss can process 10m lines of data to produce an optimum customer group in 0.4 seconds’

Brandyfloss has received support from Enterprise Ireland and Carlow’s Local Enterprise Office. It has raised €85,000 to date and is seeking a further €500,000 in investment. This funding will enable further product development and expansions into the UK and US this year.

The market

Ó Searcóid explained that the platform is focused on retailers who have sales data linked to customers but don’t have the means to leverage it for advanced customer segmentation.

“This includes both bricks-and-mortar retailers with loyalty programmes, and e-commerce retailers.”

Ó Searcóid said that Brandyfloss saves time, improves targeted marketing and increases sales by up to 350pc.

The founders

Ó Searcóid has worked as a marketer for 10 years across several industries, including mobile telecoms, financial services and publishing.

“By understanding the challenges facing marketers, it was possible to envision the right solution,” he said.

“I teamed up with Allen Grimm, a talented data scientist from Portland, Oregon.

“He had the experience to apply machine-learning technology to make the vision a reality. So, we have a global team of two relevant industry experts, from Carlow to the US.”

The technology

Brandyfloss connects directly to clients’ sales data.

“Once set up, all a marketer does is type in the product they wish to promote,” Ó Searcóid explained.

“Brandyfloss can process 10m lines of data to produce an optimum customer group in 0.4 seconds. It also provides insights that are uniquely relevant to that group. This helps marketers understand each customer group and create a tailored marketing campaign.

“Traditionally, customer segmentation takes days if not weeks, and often involves guesswork. Brandyfloss provides accurate results based on buyer behaviour and customer traits,” Ó Searcóid added.

Saving the retail industry

Ó Searcóid explained that the traditional bricks-and-mortar retail industry is in decline.

“Massive brands like Sears and Kmart have closed over 350 stores this year alone. They are getting swallowed up by the likes of Amazon.

“We want to provide retailers with the means to leverage their own data to boost their sales.”

Ó Searcóid said that Brandyfloss has signed up two trial customers, including Irish retail chain 53 Degrees North.

“We have achieved some great results using our technology, and plan to release our commercial product in December. At Web Summit, we received some interest from foreign investors. Things are moving fast.”

Picking up pace

Ó Searcóid said the biggest challenge of being new to the tech sector was finding the right person to work alongside, and he was fortunate to have found a great co-founder in Grimm.

Ó Searcóid said that one characteristic of the Irish start-up scene is the number of enthusiastic people who want to improve the world around them in some way.

“There is a great community spirit of helping each other, too, which is refreshing to see.

“We are lucky in Ireland that there are great support networks for entrepreneurs, such as Enterprise Ireland and the LEO.”

His advice for fellow founders? “Build a solid business plan and get the right people on board.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years