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.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews