Innovation Endeavors, the venture capital fund founded by Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, is the lead investor in a new retail software company that aims to bring the personalization and data measurement of e-commerce to the brick-and-mortar world. San Francisco-based Index will reveal today the $7 million Series A round of funding.
Also participating is Khosla Ventures, the investment vehicle for Vinod Khosla, the cofounder and former chairman and chief executive officer of Sun Microsystems, along with Alberta Investment Management Corp. and 819 Capital.
Index was cofounded by Marc Freed-Finnegan and Jonathan Wall, former colleagues at Google. Wall was a cofounder of Google Wallet and the technical lead for the Google File System and Freed-Finnegan was the product lead for Google Wallet.
Index is a platform designed to help retailers identify and track customer behavior both in-store and online, enabling tailored marketing and personalized service across all channels. The software is overlaid directly onto a retailer’s existing point of sale systems, linking in-store data to a customer’s Web, mobile and social media activity for a unified, holistic experience.
“The Index team is uniquely positioned to help retailers measure and improve their marketing impact,” said Schmidt. “Google Wallet was an early beneficiary of the founders’ technical know-how and critical execution skills. Now other retailers can benefit, too.”
Once a customer opts in to the Index database, the software can deliver customized promotions via e-mail or give store employees real-time information on a consumer’s preferences and purchase history, via a mobile app. Using GPS and tablet devices, a sales clerk could automatically pull up personalized profiles of customers as they enter a store — and then recommend a pair of sunglasses to a customer who had recently bought a swimsuit, for example.
“Index gives brick-and-mortar retailers an Amazon-like toolbox for managing customer data and relationships,” said Khosla.
Giving physical stores some of the same data advantages that e-commerce sites hold is becoming an important area of focus for omnichannel retailers. In August, eBay introduced a tablet-based app called the Retail Associate Platform that allows retailers to create detailed profiles on customers using data from both online and in-store activity.
Index’s first active client is Cako, a boutique cupcake maker with seven retail locations in San Francisco and San Jose. Going forward, Index is going after larger retail chains, as its software is an enterprise-level solution built to scale. “We are aiming for retailers that have the sophistication to fully leverage these tools,” explained Freed-Finnegan.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)