Irish startup Shopbox has raised €765,000 in seed funding from private investors, including a number of well-known retail figures.
Backers include Gerry Rogers, a former senior executive at Nike and Ikea and Paul Kealy from Tony Kealys, which is a seller of prams and nursery furniture.
The company was set up by Dublin-based Alan Gormley and business partner Tariq Zaki last June.
Gormley said that the funding round, which was raised by firm Fitzgerald Power, was ‘well-oversubscribed’ and was supported by several leading figures in the sector.
They have developed intelligent online shop assistants. “We focus on increasing conversion of average order value for online stores. We discovered online retailers got pushed to the end of the shopping journey – whereby most of the decisions were being made on social and search and Amazon, so they have been sort of disenfranchised from the consumer.
“What we provide is an AI driven shop assistant. It takes the place of the in-store shop assistant so we’re engaging customers much earlier, when they haven’t made much of their decisions. We give them ideas about things that might suit, give them suggestions, help them through parts of the process which are difficult.”
For example, Shopbox will remember products consumers looked at previously on a visit to a site and also assist when items are out of stock or not in their size. He said that the company does not need any private information to provide these type of services.
“It’s about helping the customer through an existing store. We’re across about nine different sectors now in 10 different stores and we’re consistently seeing about three times the conversion rate with Shopbox.”
Retailers it is with include DID Electrical, Tony Kealys, Hanleys in Galway and Greens shoes.
“We’re now really pushing into the UK and Europe. We’re currently running projects in UK, Spain and we have a project starting in two weeks in Denmark. And we’re talking to customers across Northern Europe.”
Gormley and Zaki worked together at a major AI vendor for several year before deciding to set up Shopbox.
“We found that this technology had fantastic returns but only the largest companies used it and we wanted it to be there for everyone.”
He said the company has just hired a marketing person and is seeking senior sales staff.