Wamda Capital invests $2.2M in Istanbul-based Insider

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Wamda Capital announced today a $2.2 million Series A investment in Insider, an Istanbul-based smart digital platform for marketers to personalize, segment and predict customer behaviors.

Other investors included 212 and Dogan Group’s Oncu GSYO venture capital firms.

A homegrown company in Turkey, Insider is now a global company in reach and in portfolio. It serves international clients such as CNN, Toyota, GNC and AVIS, from offices in eight cities: London, Moscow, Singapore, Dubai, Warsaw, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Milan.

The platform is made for marketers. It enables them to maximize the loyalty and growth of their customer base through enhanced personalization technologies and predictive segmentation. The technology also allows for the optimization of a marketer’s budget.

"[Insider's] multi-channel customer experience platform transforms data into actionable results. A comprehensive data set allows marketers to focus on customers’ wants and preferences, while driving growth and customer lifetime value,” said Wamda Capital partner Fares Ghandour in a statement.

The company's predictive modeling abilities and auto optimization technology sets it apart from similar solutions in the market.

According to the statement, their platform can predict a visitor’s likelihood to purchase (L2P) over an upcoming week by using a learning algorithm. An L2P score is calculated every day for a marketer to predict the odds of a given user to purchase, based on the user’s actions over the past 30 days.

Insider’s CEO and cofounder Hande Cilingir told Wamda the disruptive predictive modelling technology was based on 20 terabytes of data collected by the company and its partners. Commonly, marketers have to manually sift through multiple data points, such as income, internet activity, social graphs and otherwise, to find the best ways to target their customers. Insider’s advanced engine has automated the process for them.

“I can predict your age, gender, income levels, etcetera. So instead of defining the rules manually, I can predict those behaviors in advance and set the actions automatically,” said Cilingir.

Using Insider L2P services, clients have seen a conversion rate of 17 times higher the than other sites, the statement said.

Insider’s CEO and cofounder Hande Cilingir. (Image via Insider)

“We have witnessed a substantial traction in large, yet under-served markets such as, Japan, South Korea and China. Over the course of the next year, we will cement our presence in MENA and keep expanding into new and exciting markets with the goal of tripling our growth in 2016,” said Cilingir.

“The new funding will be used to achieve three major goals,” she said. “Investing in predictive modelling, advanced segmentation and auto-optimization technologies; expanding into new and high-potential markets including MENA, Eastern Europe and APAC; and hiring the best talent in these regions to fuel our irreplaceable engineering power."

Insider was founded in 2012 by six cofounders: Sinan Toktay, Serhat Soyuerel, Muharrem Derinkok, Okan Yedibela, Arda Koterin, and Cilingir.

The team first wanted to establish a new ecommerce site, but found the competition to be too high in the region. Instead, they developed a tool to help to ecommerce sites and other companies increase their commercial rate.

Although the company established itself in Istanbul, the intention was always to build an international company. But, instead of turning westward, to areas like the UK and US, the company first turned east.

Taking from Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba’s experience, Cilingir noted if they wanted to “fight in the ocean, we would lose, but if we fight in the river, we win. Our strategy was to enter rivers, not oceans… So we started with finding our rivers. And that was Russia. And after six months, we expanded to MENA region.”

Insider has since focused its attention on underserved markets like Poland, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Currently, 63 percent of Insider’s revenue comes from outside Turkey. By the end of 2016, the founders expect that figure to increase to 72 percent.

In the upcoming years, Cilingir hopes to accomplish three goals. The first, is to grow the site. By the end of 2017, she hopes Insider will exist in 15 different countries internationally. On the product side, the tech company hopes to constantly innovate, expand to more markets, and improve on predictive modeling and automatization in their technology.

The third, and perhaps the most important goal, is to build on the heart of Insider’s aspiration: To show the world that a successful, global product company can be rooted outside the West.

“In this region, if you want to try to create a global product company… we have to create a disruptive business, we have no other way,” said Cilingir.

“Venture capitalists in UK or US do not believe that there will be a real product company success story from this region, from the East. We would like to be a model. We would like to show everyone that a product company success story can come from the eastern side of the world."

Feature image via Pexels.com

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