This PayPal-incubated company was founded in 2015 to provide artificial intelligence-enabled data discovery and insights platform for financial companies and services. From being a part of NetApp Excellerator Program to being a full-fledged startup, Bengaluru-based Scalend Technologies has come a long way. Founders Srikanth Parthasarathy and Ravi Madhira who worked together in PayPal on big data projects said that the idea behind Scalend was born out of trying to find ways to solve commonly-faced challenges by the e-commerce merchants.
Analytics India Magazine got in touch with Ravi Madhira, CEO at Scalend Technologies to get an insight into the startup’s out-of-the-box big data solutions, AI-enabled offerings, growth story so far, among others.
The Analytics Product Offerings
Helping organisations to generate insights from both structured and unstructured data, Scalend has two product lines:
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- An advanced analytics platform
- Essential Insights, an AI-based product for e-commerce merchants
The advanced analytics platform has ready-to-use components to handle data unification, cleansing and predictive modelling along with security features. On the other hand, Essential Insights brings e-commerce merchants together with visitor data, store data and payments data. Through the AI layer, the product then provides actionable insights such as cross-sell, upsell, pricing, inventory, among others.
Madhira shares, “The advanced analytics platform provides the ability to acquire data from different types of data sources, whether it is structured or unstructured data, bring them together and run predictive models on top of it. The platform can be connected to any standard visualisation tool like Tableau or QlikView to generate necessary reports.”
Customers who currently use this product are largely in the financial services sector but the product can be used across verticals.
In-Built AI-Enabled Modelling Engine
Madhira shares that ML and AI are the key differentiators for Scalend’s Essential Insights offering. “Today standard tools provide basic reporting capabilities, but merchants demand more. They want to know what to do next to improve sales, what actions to take to increase revenue, reduce declines, costs, and others,” he said.
To deal with this, the AI-based models need to provide personalised recommendations to every single client and to be able to do it at a large scale. “In some cases, it so happens that datasets might be small in size — which means that we have to be very careful about the quality of the recommendations. But given that we aggregate data across customers some of that risk is mitigated,” he added.
He further shared that their inbuilt AI-based modelling engine runs through data of customers individually. It builds specific models for each of them and fine-tunes them based on the data that is acquired. “There is a lot of effort from our data science team because not only does the data require domain expertise but extensive testing and validation of the results is essential,” he said.
Along with various connectors to different data sources, Scalend also has its clickstream product which when deployed together with other data sources, can help paint the journey of a customer through multiple channels. Business users get a picture of individual customer journey across channels over a period of time. This journey is transformed into funnels, cohorts etc. enabling effective decisions on customer acquisition and retention.
Growth Story And Growth Plan
With customers across verticals in India and other regions, they recently launched the Essential Insights product through their partner EasyOps for 800 of their clients. Currently bootstrapped, the startup is looking to raise money to use it for sales and marketing expenses and to strengthen their data science team of 10. They are looking to add a mixture of junior and senior resources to the team, who have strong analytical and programming skills along with a good sense of business.
Built on AI and ML-based analytics, they look forward to progress at a scale that makes them readily accessible to the target segment. On the way, they face challenges such as financial support and sales. They are being able to overcome this challenge to a great deal by the support of Karnataka government through their KBITS startup program, while NetApp (for enterprises) and PayPal (for e-commerce) are also providing tremendous go-to-market support.