A 1-year-old Plano tech startup is one step closer to providing a new resource to retailers and restaurants: insight into consumer data based on information already being supplied by customers.
Oculus360 LLC received its first round of venture capital Aug. 29 from Dallas-based Trailblazer Capital and it plans to use the $1.5 million to begin introducing its technology to customers.
"It was a very interesting journey," said Raju Kattumenu, Oculus360 CEO and former innovation and analytics director at PepsiCo. "We weren’t planning on pursuing that type of capital until the end of year. It happened very fast."
Oculus360's platform will be able to take data from different sources, including blogs, Facebook and Twitter, and analyze it to give companies consumer insight as well as offer predictions based on patterns.
After Trailblazer met with the startup's leaders over coffee, the team instantly knew Oculus360 was a good fit regardless of its early stage, said George Barber, Trailblazer Capital venture partner.
"It's something companies know they have to spend money on," Barber said about Oculus360's big data analytics. "So they (Oculus360) don’t have to convince people to buy mouse traps without any mice."
The idea was the brainchild of Kattumenu, who during his time at PepsiCo realized that much of the retail and restaurant industry is still spending time and money using traditional forms of analytics. As a result, the industry is overlooking loads free consumer data that is being updated daily via new media.
Kattumenu joined John Dubois, who previously worked for a startup that worked with PepsiCo, and began to set the wheels in motion. Dubois serves as the company's chief operating officer. Software developer Sean Parker, formerly of IBM, then joined the leadership team as chief technology officer and worked with Kattumenu and Dubois to build the current 11-person team.
The combination of business acumen and technology experience was one of the major components that played into Trailblazer's decision to invest. It also helped that the company had a product with a growing market and demand, and had garnered support from five angel investors.
"In venture capital, it really was a perfect storm," Barber said, adding that Oculus360 is Trailblazer's fifth venture capital recipient.
With its new funding, Oculus360 plans to begin working on its front-end interface and testing its platform with companies in Dallas.
"We want to be quite disruptive in the retail market industry," Kattumenu said. "What we are bringing will tremendously impact costs and efficiencies."