Promos, the Spanish startup combining machine learning and crowdsourced market research data to deliver unique insights to the FMCG industry, has closed a $1 million financing round led by Change Ventures. Joining the round were a number of international angel investors including Martin Villig, co-founder of mobility unicorn Bolt, and Andrius Šlimas, who co-founded and sold Oberlo to Shopify. Promos, whose team is made up of FMCG industry and market research veterans, will use the funds to build out its platform ahead of roll-out in Spain and further expansion.
Market research providers conventionally use point of sale (POS) data from a limited number of leading retailers to paint a picture of the entire market landscape. But market intelligence providers are increasingly unable to provide granular consumer purchase data in a rapidly shifting consumer landscape. Shopping for different goods from different stores, both online and offline, is increasingly commonplace. As a result, the consumer’s footprint is scattered and the ability to represent the market accurately is increasingly difficult. Consumer panels exist, but their sample sizes are small, and their capabilities limited. In the US, startups are beginning to change FMCG data analytics with new omnichannel purchase data solutions. This has given rise to a number of unicorns, and significant acquisitions in the space. Europe, however, is lagging behind.
Promos aims to change this by making use of a multi-sided platform that leverages crowdsourced market data with the help of artificial intelligence. On one side, consumers are incentivized to upload their shopping receipts to the Promos app with cashback offers and discounts. Powered by computer vision AI technology, Promos is able to process the information within the receipt and make sense of product-level sales data without the need for an integration or agreement with the retailers. On the other side of the platform, Promos’ clients – brands and retailers – can access real-time, interactive market data and even run promotions directly on the app.
“Market research for the FMCG industry has failed to keep up with the pace of the consumer. With Promos, we wanted to develop the type of solution that we longed for in our previous roles in the industry but didn’t exist. Our mission is to help retailers and brands understand spending patterns and consumer behaviour from a side of the market that nobody else can provide but is imperative in an increasingly multichannel market,” said Lina Beinortaitė, co-founder of Promos.
Promos combines shopping basket product-level data with consumer and location information across multiple retailers. This enables both brands and retailers to understand shopper loyalty better, take action and measure results. Data obtained from the Promos app indicates that Spanish consumers spend only around 60% of their budgets at a ‘main’ retailer but typically visit four other supermarkets per month.
Promos is composed of industry insiders and brings together expertise from across the FMCG spectrum, largely culled from the C-suites of the Spanish grocery retail industry. Its leadership includes a female co-founder who previously led sales and marketing for the SuperSol supermarket chain, the former CEO of Cash Diplo market chain, a 25-year veteran of market analytics providers Nielsen, and the former CCO of renewable upstart WePower, which raised over $40 million ahead of its growth in Europe and Australia.
“One of our objectives as we scale and harness the power of the consumption data to unlock new value for the consumers themselves. Conversely, by being a part of the same multi-sided platform as consumers, brands are able to benefit from a performance analytics layer previously not available to brick-and-mortar retail,” added Beinortaitė.
Promos has already worked with more than a dozen consumer goods companies and its app has been downloaded by more than 100,000 users. The startup expects to scale to many times that size, allowing it to offer more encompassing and flexible market intelligence than traditional consumer panels operated by incumbents, in real-time. Promos will use the funds to expand its big data and software engineering talent, explore patentable extensions of its technology, and launch new services for the Spanish market this year.
“The Promos team are experienced founders that lived through the pain points of their clients. Now, they have seized the opportunity to develop a truly unique product capable of collecting and leveraging sophisticated data in a way that incumbent market research providers can’t. Seeing their drive, experience and ability to execute quickly and efficiently, we are confident Promos will make a considerable impact in the FMCG market research industry,“ said Andris K. Berzins, Managing Partner at lead investor Change Ventures.