SnapAnalytx – Democratzing predictive analytics

SnapAnalytx was started by Madhu Reddy, an ex-Microsoft product marketing manager in 2013 to address a fundamental problem in the world of predicative analytics – shortage of data scientists and lack of easily consumable predictive models for analysis. Predictive analytics empowers organizations to plan for the future by providing tools to analyze historic information and identify future trend and transform an uncertainty into a usable action with high probability. The world of predictive analytics has been the exclusive realm of ivory-tower statisticians and data scientist who rarely interact with everyday line of business decision makers. The goal of SnapAnalytx is to bridge this gap between predictive model creators (supply side) and model consumers (organizations) by creating an open marketplace for predictive models and foster transparent collaboration between the model authors and model consumers (data scientist). They provide simple tools for model authors (non-data scientist) to build predictive models and showcase their models to the end buyers (data scientists) and provide a simple platform for deploying and managing these models. A simple way to think about SnapAnalytx – Heroku (open deployment platform) + eBay (marketplace).

Globally, the predictive analytics market was valued at USD 2,087.3 million in 2012 and is forecast to grow at 17.8% CAGR from 2013 – 2019. According to a new market report “Predictive Analytics Market published by Transparency Market Research, the market for predictive analytics software is forecast to reach USD 6,546.4 million globally by 2019. The market growth is driven by increased demand for ‘customer intelligence’ and ‘fraud and security intelligence’ software. Cloud hosted predictive analytics software solution is seen as an emerging market and is expected to drive growth in the near future. The market opportunity for SnapAnalytx is huge. They are creating a new market and lowering the barrier to entry for organizations looking to realize the power of predictive analytics. They are the only open marketplace for predictive model. Being the first in the market, has given them undue advantage to build both the supply side and the demand side of the market and provide a platform for non-data scientist to easily use and consume models for analysis.

SnapAnalytx mission is to “enable more organizations to take advantage of the power of predictive analytics in decision making — by making predictive analytics more accessible, more affordable and easier to use”. Their value proposition is to make it easy for model authors to create, publish and monetize models and model buyers to buy and deploy models for analysis in a low cost and scalable way. The primary distribution channel today is their website (http://snapanalytx.com/index.php). End user can directly buy and deploy the models from the website (one time transactions or subscription model) – B2C model. They are also looking to partner with big data cloud providers (Azure, Amazon, and Rackspace) to be their de-facto marketplace for predictive models (B2B play). In addition, they are also looking to provide consulting services to organizations who are looking to customize an existing models or build new models. Additionally, SnapAnalytx is starting to increase the presence in linked-in discussions groups for predictive analytics and closely following popular bloggers who regularly blog for KDnuggets.com. Getting the word out about SnapAnalytx in these forums will help them build the supply side of their business and get a critical number of models in their market place. The demand side will eventually follow

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Nike FuelBand -Fuelling your fitness goals

My team decided to participate in a FitBit challenge as part of our yearly giving campaign. The team with the highest collective points wins the challenge. This was the first time I was exposed to “Wearable fitness devices (eg: Fitbit)” technology. This smart device tracks and measures day to day activities and helps you stay on track with your fitness goals. As I started researching this area I came across Nike FuelBand. This device was Nike’s answer to FitBit. The device looked pretty cool. After going through their promotional videos, I was convinced that FuelBand was my answer to my elusive fitness goals. I ended up pre-ordering my Nike FuleBand. The device was launched on the 6th of November. I was excited to a be an early adopter.

Nike FuelBand

As a loyal Amazon customer, I started off looking for an attractive bargain in Amazon. It turned out to be more expensive ($189) than what Nike was offering on their website ($149). Shipping was free.

I ended up buying the device on Nike.com for $149. The price is $20 more that the Fitbit Force model. I was hoping that Nike would introduce the FuelBand to match FitBit’s price. However, Nike FuelBand looks way better that Fitbit. The device was shipped within a day and it arrived on time as promised. I was notfied when the device was shipped and when the device was delivered. With FuelBand in my hand, I am fueled up to hit my daily goals. Bring it on!

PR Strategy of Zulily – daily deals site for Moms, Babies and kids

Zulily offers daily deals for moms, babies and kids. Each morning zulily offers a fresh selection of hand-picked quality children’s apparel, women’s apparel, toys, infant gear and home décor—all at an average of 50% off.

Zulily is taking a traditional approach to PR campaign via a popular website such as Forbes, Geekwire and Inc. Zulily is recognized as top 10 hottest startups in Seattle area with a valuation of over 1 Billion dollars. Zulily primarily relies on E-Mail marketing campaigns. Their PR camping primary target moms. Their 6am daily deals e-mail has become a morning ritual among Moms. This e-mail campaign has become a huge traffic driver to Zulily website. In addition, their refer a friend email campaign . By sharing what you shop with 3 of your close friends, the referee get a $15 credit towards their next purchase and the referral get a $5 credit.

I believe that their public relations campaign is geared primarily toward traditional media channels websites, TV. They have a dedicated page on their website dedicated to all the press releases and media coverage they have got. I found most of their PR campaign activities from their website. Zulily has implemented a good mix of inbound marketing and outbound marketing (e-mail campaign) to drive traffic to their website

Red Clay – Democratizing product design for enterprises

Red clay is a crowd sourced design platform for enterprise. They connect brands, designers and consumers to create physical products. Their platform provides bands and retailers a solution for their increasing need for exclusive, innovative product ideas at a fraction of the cost and time to market. They have currently raised ~500K with a target goal of $3.5 million.

They have recently acquired their largest customer (giggle.com) and are targeting to launch their service on February 1st 2014. Their customer acquisition strategy is based on attracting designers to sign-up and publish their work. Potential brands can browse designers profile of designers and review their work. Users have the option of voting designs published by designers. The highest voted designs automatically surfaces on top of the search list. The lowest rated design automatically gets weeded out of the system. In order to attract more designers, Red clay periodically run competitions on behalf of popular brands. This has attracted a large community of designers to submit their ideas. End-consumers vote on design submissions and the winning designs are manufactured by the brands. In addition, every designers application should include link to their past designs and referrals. Applications are reviewed before they are accepted. This process ensure quality of designers.

Red clay design campaigns strategy is primarily centered around inbound marketing . They have invested heavily in SEO. A simple search for “Red clay designs” on bing.com takes us to their site and images of popular designs published on their site. They should invest bit more on surfacing popular designers from their website in search engines.

I signed up as a designer on their website. My application is under review.

Flashnotes- Helping students help each other

Flashnotes is an online marketplace where students can sell their notes, study guides, flashcard decks, video tutorials, etc. The product/service is positioned as world’s first peer-to-peer marketplace of high-quality academic content. Flashnotes enables students the ability to gain access to course specific knowledge in real time by utilizing collaborative commerce and the latest technologies. Their business model is very straightforward. Student sellers set their own price for their own notes, study guides, virtual flashcards and video tutorials. Student sellers can also host a one-to-many or one-to-one live tutoring sessions. Flashnotes takes a 30% cut plus a $1.00 transaction fee.

Education is one sector that is going through a lot of disruption by technology. One of the core aspects of education is knowledge sharing and communication. We see an increasing trend where  college courses today are offered online. Students can take classes that are offered online at a lower price point.  These technology shifts is what is making Flashnotes a possibility. Flashnotes initial target market is 21.4 MM college students.  More and more students are using devices in their classroom – to take notes, to collaborate, submit assignments etc.. Flashnotes is well positioned to execute in this growing market and help reward students who are more organized in taking notes. Based on their initial data, over 65% of their student buyers have improved their GPA.

I believe Flashnotes is filling a crucial demand for students by democratizing the way students learn and collaborate. College students are always looking for ways to get more done with less. Flashnotes provides a mechanism for them to make money (by taking notes as part of their learning process) while helping others succeed. They also promote students whose notes are popular based on the how buyers have rated their previous course notes. Over course of time, sellers who provide lower value will eventually get noted down. In future flashnotes, has a huge opportunity to learn more about the student learning habits based on the data they collect and upsell premium service such as tutoring services with other fellow student, career counselling and job placements.

Bag Borrow Or Steal (BBS) – Making fashion affordable – Market analysis

BBS is primarily caters to consumers who own or would like to own luxury goods, are fashion conscious and trendy (particularly women). However, have limited spending power or would like to try a fashion accessory before paying a huge price. BBS caters to budget conscious customer who would like to get a taste of owning a high-end fashion bag, jewelry or other fashion accessories, BBS allows them to rent designer accessories and return it after they have used it for a predefined duration. Customers have the option of rent per week or per month. Customers also have the option of purchasing the item after usage. Their catalog of items include anything from designer bags, clothes, accessories and jewelry can be rented.

The designer fashion rental is a niche yet a growing market. Consumers (particularly women) like owing expensive designer fashionable goods as symbol of status and prestige. The US handbag market alone will reach over $9 billion by 2015. Worldwide spending on luxury products rose by 10% in 2011 and 12% in 2012. The highest growth rate is expected to be in Asia (over 12% in 2012). The overall global luxury market related to personal luxury items accounts for over $50 billion.

BBS target market can be segmented according to fashion designer, consumer lifestyle choices and demographics statistics. BBS is attempting to reach consumer ranging from students, housewives to working women who have disposable income to rent luxury fashion good but cannot afford to own it. They also target consumer who are price-sensitive and are comfortable buying used items at a reasonable price rather than paying full price. BBS encourages users to rent different items, accrue loyalty points in the process and trade the points towards purchasing or renting items in the future.