If you spend enough time at your neighborhood pet store or pizza shop, the employees eventually learn tidbits about you. The clerks figure out that your Golden Retriever noshes on a certain brand of specialty dog food. The pizza makers come to expect your standard order of two large pepperoni-and-pineapple pies every Thursday.
What if you could have that personalized experience when you shop online?
, a marketing company based in the Philadelphia suburb of Conshohocken, was founded based on that premise. Its technology tweaks online retailers' websites so individual shoppers see relevant information and products. "It's a marketing platform for e-commerce that puts the right information in front of the visitor to the e-commerce site at the right time," co-founder David Bookspan explains.
Monetate's platform crunches data points such as a customer's location and previous browsing habits to figure out what each visitor to the website might like to see. "We’re not going to show you bathing suits in Minnesota in January," Bookspan says.
Bookspan also co-founded Dreamit Ventures, an entrepreneurial accelerator program for IT enterprises. Dreamit was launched in 2008 with Ben Franklin as a founding sponsor and lead institutional investor. The Accelerator has launched more than 80 companies since its formation. Ben Franklin partnered with Dreamit for its Minority Entrepreneur Accelerator Program, and Dreamit Plus, where Ben Franklin and regional investors provide start-up capital and support to select graduates.
The company's tools individualize the online shopping experience and yield more sales for retailers. Monetate's clients include big names such as Brooks Brothers, Dick's Sporting Goods and QVC.
Bookspan says the key is that Monetate's platform puts the power to change a retailer's website in the hands of its marketing department, not the information technology department. Since marketers are more familiar with the wants and needs of the customer, he says, removing this layer improves efficiency.
Ben Franklin Technology Partners/SEP invested $250,000 for software product improvements in 2008, shortly after the company’s founding. At the time, Monetate had only three employees. "Ben Franklin is an excellent source for early stage capital." says Bookspan.
Today, Monetate has raked in more than $20 million in funding, and boasts over 130 employees.