Be Mindful of Mineful: A brief in predictive customer retention

All online retailers know is it important to have a robust e-commerce platform that can collect vital customer information to be successful. Couple that with some sort of BI, and you’ve got some decent analysis tools to help you manage your store. But if your competitors have those same tools and sell the same products, how can you get an edge? And with all the available data on their database and floating around out there on the web, how can you manage it all and use it to your advantage?

Local Dallas startup Mineful aims to cut through the clutter and prove a rich interface that automates many of the menial tasks involved in customer analysis and retention. One of the major differences from others is it offers predictive analysis.  Whereas many tools offer hindsight analysis, Mineful looks at trends to predict the likelihood of a customer never returning to your store. You can create rule-based criteria which can trigger automated messages to be delivered to customers based on their probability of defection or some other behavior. It also has a self-learning feature which, based on measured success and past response rates from customers, can adapt on-the-fly to change subject lines or product offerings, for example.

Jaime Brugueras and Jose Rubio started the company in 2010. Jaime was a marketing consultant for major brands, but became unhappy witnessing all the meetings and analysis that resulted in inaction. Not surprising in large companies. He noticed all the inefficiencies in large companies between analytics and action, so he decided to do something about it and start his own company. His cousin Jose had been tearing down and rebuilding computers for a long time. He also was active in writing software, continually looking for ways to improve on what already existed.

Through his sister-in-law, who worked at Austin Ventures, Jaime became aware of the Tech Wildcatters seed accelerator program. He applied and was accepted into the fall program, a 12-week “bootcamp” that allowed Jose and him to meet and work with mentors to help them refine their strategy, as well as get advice on their elevator pitch for when they meet investors. Not only has Mineful been able to meet with mentors. But through their mentor’s networks, the team was able to meet with a gentleman named Dan Woodward. On the advice from Woodward and the TW mentors, they’ve adjusted their target customer from practically any company in any industry to only online retailers. This has helped them refine their product and value proposition to be more relevant to their market.

As the Mineful team graduates from the TW program, their biggest challenge will be raising funding. As we all know, it’s been a tough economy. Money isn’t flowing as freely as it once was. Jaime and Jose will need to continue growing their revenue stream and customer base, before investors will open their wallets. They are targeting small to medium-sized retailers and charge for their service based on the number of customers uploaded into the system. Currently more than 20 businesses are using Mineful to gain a competitive advantage and increase revenue per customer.

Be sure to check out Mineful as they give their final presentation of the TW program at “Pitch Day” next Tuesday. As of this writing, there are still spots available. You can register here. If you can’t make it in person, it will be live-streamed on the Tech Wildcatters site. It will also be on the Ustream homepage.

Brad Anderson