This is another announcement a little late to the game. We got a tweet out on it on Tuesday, but to circle back after all the Slush madness, Walkbase announced it has raised a solid €3 million in a round led by Russia's SBT Venture Capital, and Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the former CEO of Nokia. The funds will be used to strengthen its sales and marketing, and well as accelerating its growth strategy in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Walkbase offers a sensor for retail stores that tracks Wi-Fi enabled phones, allowing the physical tracking of consumers around a store on an individual level. With their technology, they provide retailers with heatmaps and analytics that sound more like what you see offered for web shops, such as consumer trends, pattern gathering, and even A/B testing for marketing displays. For example, if you're running a limited time offer or in-store marketing visuals, you can use Walkbase to measure the effect they had on consumers that walked past the display.
"Even though online buying is steadily growing, 92% of retail sales still take place in physical stores," notes Tuomas Wuoti, CEO & Co-Founder of Walkbase. "A prime advantage of online has been the ability to accurately measure buyer behavior. In online stores, everything can be optimized in real time for the best possible shopping experience. Thanks to new technology, this ability is now spreading to offline retail. It’s taking place really fast and Walkbase is leading that disruption."
What's notable about their investors is that SBT Venture Capital's principal investor is Sberbank, the largest bank in Russia and Eastern Europe. Sberbank has 18,000 retail branches and Walkbase's technology will be integrated into the locations to track customer behavior. Walkbase is currently evaluating opportunities to start additional pilots with a number of high street retail chains in the UK.
So it all sounds like fantastic news for the company. Not only is this a nice-sized round, but it's great to see Russian investors looking into Finland, and also that the technology is being plugged into customers.