Startup Of The Week

Startup Of the Week: Exacaster
Feb 17

Startup Lithuania continues presenting Lithuanian startups for readers. This time we get to know the inspiring team of Exacaster and their AI-based platform that helps telecoms and retailers to address key marketing, personalization, and customer experience challenges. Read the whole interview and get to know the launching idea and ambitious advantages of Exacaster.

What is Exacaster? How does it work? 

Exacaster helps companies to engage with their customers better by improving decision making based on big data and predictive analytics. 

Exacaster is an AI-powered marketing automation software company that helps telecoms and retailers in more than 10 countries to address key marketing, personalization, and customer experience challenges.

With our customer data management and campaign management platforms, companies can enhance their consumer experiences across all touchpoints, whether via digital channels or in stores.

Who are your competitors and what are your competitive advantages?

We compete with marketing automation software companies all around the globe. The competition is fierce, therefore by focusing mainly on telecoms and retailers, we can offer state-of-the-art customer profiling, AI-powered purchase recommendations and marketing automation capabilities that few other companies worldwide can match.

Tell us the story of your company’s product and where you are today? 

While working for one telecom company a decade ago, we realized that we couldn’t really see and understand our customers well enough. Simply because there are too many of them. It’s not possible to talk to hundreds of thousands of clients. We had to dig into big data.

To be able to cope with a massive amount of data, we started to utilize algorithms that used machine learning to solve business problems that otherwise would be too time-consuming or even impossible for people to solve.

We started by predicting which customers would leave the company. Since our predictions were quite accurate, we continued to develop customer retention solutions to reduce subscriber churn rates for mobile operators. A decade ago, it really was the beginning of using artificial intelligence (AI) – not only in Lithuania but also globally.

As well as churn prediction we have developed many automated solutions for customer onboarding, upsell and cross-sell, contract prolongation, household identification and more.

Our software selects the offers based on the individual’s purchase history or other events. It recommends new items that might catch a buyer’s eye and convert to a sale.

The AI-powered marketing automation technology has matured fast in recent years and is now becoming accessible to smaller companies as well.

When exactly did you launch? What were the main challenges before launching? 

We started our commercial activities in 2010. Back then, the main challenges were to educate companies by explaining what big data and artificial intelligence is. Business people with whom we talked did not understand what we do. They were treating our mathematical predictions as if it were horoscopes! 

At that time all marketing was based on segment offering, meaning that telecoms or retailers were targeting their customers with the same offers according to the segments they belonged to. We brought a new concept to marketing – personalization. 

What are your main challenges working on this product and how have you overcome them?

Today AI is mainstream. Exacaster – as a pioneer in this field – has another obligation and challenge now. We have to educate businesses about leveraging customer data correctly. It’s very important to use private data in a safe and compliant way from the end user’s perspective. Companies should grant a right to every customer to control his/her data. 

As we manage terabytes of customer data, our technology and solutions must ensure data security and comply with all the latest data privacy regulations effective in the markets in which we operate. After being in the market for a decade now we possess solid knowledge on how to balance GDPR and personalization. Not every type of personalization requires personal data. 

On the other hand, large companies are still struggling to capitalize on their data. Enterprises own massive amounts of customer information, but the majority of it goes unused for analytics due to legacy IT systems and a lack of internal competence to prepare or utilize the data. 

Our task and major challenge is helping such companies to collect all available customer data from online and offline sources, and make it a valuable asset for the business. And, most importantly, to increase customer value by providing a better-personalized experience for the end-users.

Who are your target customers? Both in terms of user profile and geography? How has your business been so far? 

In the Baltics, we have two well-known brands as clients – the telecoms operator Tele2 and retailer Rimi. Worldwide Exacaster reaches 80 million telco customers on 3 continents every day. Our service team in Vilnius provides 24×7 customer support for clients in Europe and the Americas.

Could you share some numbers to illustrate this (users, sales, etc)?

Even though we have been in the business for nearly 10 years now, we still live with the startup mindset: A startup is a company designed to grow fast. We are among the fastest-growing tech companies in Central and Eastern Europe. Last year Exacaster was named again in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 Central Europe 2019 – a ranking of the 50 fastest-growing public and private technology companies.

Please introduce your founders, core team and broader team?

Exacaster was founded by former colleagues who met one day on the street in 2010. That random conversation developed into a collaboration that lasts until today.

Šarūnas Chomentauskas is the CEO and a Co-founder of Exacaster. Another Co-founder Egidijus Pilypas is taking care of Product and Data Science. Both Šarūnas and Egidijus have a long track record in the telco domain.

Most of our team have a lot of experience working in the mobile industry, at the local telecom operators or retail companies in the Baltics. 

The Exacaster team consists of 60 passionate analytics, CRM, data science, engineering, AI and software experts based in the Nordic style office located in the old town of Vilnius. 

Future plans, ambitions? Simply speaking – what’s next?

Our current plan is to successfully launch our new software – Exacaster Customer 360. It is a platform for customer data management tailored for telecoms. 

We were planning to showcase our new platform at the main mobile tech event in Europe, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this month. Since the event was recently canceled due to the risk of coronavirus outbreak, now we have to find creative ways to launch this next-gen customer data platform by using other intelligent tools of connectivity with our future clients. This is a startup mindset that helps us a lot to overcome any unexpected situations at the end of the day!

Thank you for the interview!

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