In this week’s Q&A Kehlan talks with Dave O’Flanagan of Boxever. Boxever helps travel companies better understand their customers by helping them understand the data their clients generate. It recently raised $12m (€10.74m ) in venture capital funding.
What do you do at Boxever?
We provide an analytics and personalisation solution for travel companies around the world.
So we help them to better understand their customers and how to interact with them.
They can take that and use it to market to their customers more effectively. Just to give you an example, one of our customers is Air New Zealand.
We help them to better understand what kind of customers buy products internationally and nationally.
Which of their customers is more price sensitive, or not; which customer is more likely to buy a hotel room or rent a car with their travel plans.
So if they are on a website, or on the phone with somebody in a call centre, our data shows what that person is more likely to purchase and they can then have packages tailored to their needs.
You’re helping them to better understand their own data?
Yeah, most travel companies have lots of different databases locked away in different parts of the organisation. Sometimes that data isn’t unified.
A call centre may have information that the mail system doesn’t have.
When we combine that information we’re opening up the whole organisation to the same information and so they can be well informed from every part of the business.
We then work with them to develop insights into that data and create better opportunities for sales.
You recently raised $12m in a Series B funding.
We are an Irish company, but we have offices in the US as well, and we sell globally.
So we already had US investors from our first round of funding.
When we went out for our Series B funding we spent a lot of time talking to new investors in the States.
However, our current investors were very keen to invest again in the company so we went with that option.
So is it a case of their investment being purely money, or how involved are they?
The investors — Polaris Partners in Boston and Frontline Ventures in Dublin — are very involved in our business.
When you take on a partner or investor like Polaris or Frontline, it says a lot about the longevity of the company and the fact that there is real capital behind the business.
When we took our first round of funding, we had 15 employees and Polaris put $6m into the company.
That investment helped us with new customers like Air New Zealand and other global operators. These are multibillion-euro operators.
It helped us convince them that we were serious and in this for the long haul.
So it was much more than just a money investment, it was an investment in our knowledge and security. It also opened the door for us to hire key executives.
Getting those executives, was it through head- hunting or meeting them at a party or what?
It’s a combination. Some would be recommendations from people we knew inside our own network.
Of the three executives, one was headhunted, one was highly recommended, and the other was somebody I knew already.
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