Toronto startup Askuity turning complex retail data to grow sales

Askuity works with leading retail brands to turn complex point of sale data into profitable insights and greater business results. By combining automated point of sale data collection with powerful analytics and mobile technology, the Askuity analytics platform uncovers data-driven insights to help brands grow sales, improve margins and strengthen retailer relationships.

Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?
The company was founded by Eric Green and Neal Sherman. Eric, Askuity's CEO, was formerly co-founder and president of a high-growth CPG company that sold innovative products to retailers across North America. It was through this experience that he realized the impact that retail analytics could have on his business, which ultimately ignited the idea behind the Askuity platform. Neal, Askuity's COO, is the technical half of the Askuity founding team, responsible for turning Askuity’s vision into product reality. He has held leadership roles in both sales and product management at a number of successful technology companies spanning Cloud, Analytics and Mobile solutions.

How are you being financed?
Askuity has conducted two funding rounds; one in 2014 and one in 2016.

Office

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?
The biggest obstacle for Askuity is challenging the status quo. Many retail brands have failed to adopt modern technology to make better use of their data and gain greater insight into their retail business. As companies continue to realize how important data is to their continued success, we expect that these brands will move away from the status quo of Microsoft Excel and canned reports, transitioning to modern solutions such as Askuity.

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?
Great developers are not easy to find in this market. We tend to find our most talented developers through referrals, and place an emphasis on sourcing development hires through our existing development team’s network.

Who is your biggest competition?
Askuity has reinvented the point of sale analytics market. As a result, we don't have many competitors that offer a truly competitive product offering that spans desktop and mobile. Most often we find ourselves displacing expensive data visualization/reporting software that does not specialize in handling retail data. Askuity is a compelling alternative to these types of generic solutions, as our platform is purpose-built for brands and manufacturers selling their products into major retailers.

Founders

How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in revenues? In what markets?
Askuity has been growing rapidly and steadily, with new brands signing onto our platform every week. By continuing to listen to the needs of our customers and adding new functionality to improve and differentiate our platform, we are confident that we will continue to expand our footprint in the retail industry. While Askuity is actively focusing on the North American market at the moment, we see great potential in scaling our sales and marketing efforts internationally in the near future.

What is the big lesson you've learned (success or failure) with this project.
As we've gone to market, we've identified that the market is broken out into two distinct groups: old school and new school. Some brands have not yet embraced data as a growth strategy, relying on old school ways of managing their business. These brands often require more education and assistance as they are still learning how data can be used to improve their business, resulting in a longer and more complex sales cycle. On the other hand we work with some brands that already understand the value of harnessing data, but are often limited by traditional reporting solutions that fail to meet their needs. When dealing with these brands, the sales process is rather straightforward, allowing us to focus on the benefits of the Askuity platform while ensuring that our solution addresses their specific pain points and key business objectives.

Website: https://www.askuity.com/