Not that this is a rule of thumb by any means, but when you take three men with doctorates and some computer science background, there’s a good chance they’ll come up with a pretty convincing business model for a startup. For example, when Dr.Jyrki Kontio, Dr. Niraj Aswani and Dr. Nilay Oza put their heads together and mindstormed Finland-based Klevu into existence.
How convincing the startup is will eventually be up to you to decide, but it was enough to recently raise and close a €250 000 capital investment round led by Finnish seed investor & accelerator KoppiCatch and joined by Inventure, as well as Finnish and Russian business angels.
Klevu relies purely on academical logic; It’s a smart search engine specifically built for e-commerces relying on analysis of semantics and what you could think of as an automated virtual dictionary.
Dr. Nilay Oza, Klevu’s CEO, told us how 15% of web shops have never even considered looking into their e-commerce search engines, usually relying completely on Google powered search results, which aren't a pure catastrophe but do leave quite a bit for improvement. The result of inaccurate or too broad search results leads to a whopping 42% rate in online-cart abandonment, which translates to lost customers, which in turn translates to lost revenue.
Sure enough, there was a significant market gap to be filled, and since its establishment to the day of the closed fund, Klevu took form while being bootstrapped by the three Ph Ds. As things moved on, Jyrki Kontio used his networks to get in touch with one of Klevu’s current angel backer Jaakko Salminen, and as they say, one thing led to another. Once KoppiCatch was on the line, the deal wasn't far away anymore; Klevu perfectly fit what they were looking for, which was a company in the field search engineering and e-commerce. The deal moved on, including Inventure, four Finnish and one Russian Angel into it.
Today’s Klevu is dealing with clients over three continents including clients from the US, UK, India not to forget Klevu’s “home”-ground Finland where they have deals with multiple major enterprises.
Klevu’s search engine owes much to the massive open source software GATE (General Architecture for Text Engineering) which is sort a text engineering bible. At this moment, Klevu offers both faster final as well as autocomplete results (search results appearing while you’re typing), faceted filtering (categorized filtering options) and most importantly, trend mining. Trend mining is basically keeping up with what’s “cool”. This means results are adjusted automatically based on search trends on your shop. Product promotion and search analytics are a given.
Klevu is already looking pretty good with many well constructed search related features, but Oza says the future will take all of this even further. He explained how on top of marketing, the funding will play an essential role in developing Klevu into a search engine that takes into account an emerging trend among e-commerces, which is content on top of products.
Today’s bigger companies with online shops usually provide content on top of products. As an example Oza mentions H&M, which today has both the traditional e-commerce and since recent years, blogs. The next gen search engine would somehow connect the two in results with each other. Oza says this is the next step and though it’s a big challenge it's a possible one.
Now including Finnish and English, Klevu’s also working on bringing French and German into their language repertoire. Implementation prices start at €19/month and go up to €99/month for bigger needs. Klevu’s also offering a no-obligation free trial of 30 days, so give it a look.