Most of our media and shopping worlds involve the little boxes below what we are looking at that offer up other shows to watch or items to buy that are either similar or that other people also bought.
Consumers also have expectations that websites will be more personalized, which means that websites need to know something about you in order to show you things you want to see.
CEO Alexandre Robicquet, along with an all-star founding team of Emile Contal and Google X founder and Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun, started Crossing Minds and launched in 2018 at TechCrunch’s Disrupt Battlefield as a consumer-focused app called Hai, which provided users with entertainment recommendations like books, music, shows, video games and restaurants.
Two years later, the company had thousands of active users and some big organizations as customers, but there were some challenges to recommendations, which led the company to pause and pivot to business-to-business.
“Personalization is everywhere, even the next evolution of search will be filtered,” Robicquet told TechCrunch. “It is not a matter of building a recommendation engine for one business or API, but to do something that could scale and service a bunch of businesses.”
Startup Battlefield Competition – Hai by Crossing Minds | Disrupt SF 2018
Robicquet says up to 60% of consumers are often new users of a site, so that “cold start” can be a problem. Add in other barriers, like third-party cookie depreciation, stricter privacy laws and difficulty linking present and past web sessions in real time, and there is almost no way to know who it is that is visiting the site, he added.
Crossing Minds is taking on that challenge and has developed a way to provide recommendations using on-site actions so that customers can more easily discover and engage with businesses, but without needing personal identifiable information.
The company connects with its customers’ databases and is able to build out a model in about two weeks based on key performance indicators. Its SaaS model then charges a per-recommendation fee.
On Monday, Crossing Minds announced $10 million in a Series A financing round led by Radical Ventures. Existing investors Index Ventures, Partech and Lerer Hippeau also participated. Robicquet expects to infuse the new capital into its engineering team, product development and customer base and to round out its leadership team.
Crossing Minds is working with a handful of companies, including Penguin Random House, Danone and Inkbox. He estimates that the company has helped its customers increase sales on average by 93% and click-through rates by 120%.
Tomi Poutanen, co-founder of Radical Ventures, says companies like Inkbox were able “to cross the Rubicon when they partnered with Crossing Minds” and the metrics they are seeing with conversion, repeat sales and churn are what drive the economic formula, he said.
For example, Inkbox began working with Crossing Minds in February and is already seeing metrics, including a 250% increase in email click-through rates, 348% increase in adds to cart and 68.6% increase in on-site conversions for brand new users, according to Crossing Minds.
“Alexandre, Emile and Sebastian have something unique,” Poutanen said. “The foundation of the pedigree and degree of mathematics and deep-tech is not easily found elsewhere. They deeply understand product inventory and how to work with it.”
Meet retail’s new sustainability strategy: Personalization