Startup hopes to push shopping offers to you while you’re driving by store
Repeat entrepreneur Sanjay Chopra and Eric Nyberg, professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science, have teamed on an ecommerce startup that will use mobile data to create personalized shopping offers.
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Cognistx, which is based in Gibsonia, launched in July and expects to debut its first product in early fall. Via language processing and data manipulation, the young mobile marketing firm enables retailers to offer personalized offers to customers, Chopra said. That includes their history with the retailer and to-the-minute information such as their location. Nyberg had consulted with IBM on the Watson project, the supercomputer that won on “Jeopardy!” four years ago. Chopra, previously CEO of local tech firm OnlineChoice, was working in business development for IBM at the time.
“Ever since, we’ve looked at doing something together,” said Chopra, who serves as Cognistx CEO. “Cognistx is focused on the retail aspect of Watson — how to take machine learning technology and apply it to the retail space. What machine learning can do is phenomenal from a consumer perspective and very few retailers do a good job with it. We learn about the consumer and their preferences and how those change and the algorithms are churning it back and presenting the right offer on mobile. Say you were driving near a Starbucks and in the mood for a mocha cappuccino — that’s the exact offer you get.”
The young company is in discussions with several retailers, Chopra said, but could not disclose their identities. Cognistx’ holding company, Imphone, was created in 2014 to work with multiple industry sectors.
“We have a contract with Aspect, based out of Boston and Phoenix,” Chopra said, “and what we’re able to do with them is really neat. They make call center software. Agents talk to people and a supervisor listens and grades the call. It’s very time-consuming and labor-intensive. So they gave us 300 calls already graded by supervisors and we ran it through our algorithm. The machine learned that and also could determine what the agent could have done better, so it’s a continual learning feedback experience.”
Cognistx employs nine, five in the U.S., four in India. Chopra expects to have 20 in Pittsburgh by the end of 2016.
Chopra has been CEO of OnlineChoice and Intellions. Early in his career, he worked at Federated Investors Inc. Most recently, he served as director of digital commerce at Giant Eagle. He is an adjunct faculty member at CMU.
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Source: Startup hopes to push shopping offers to you while you’re driving by store
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