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Convious, the Amsterdam-based company that offers an AI-driven ecommerce platform for the experience economy, today announced it has raised $12 million. Convious says its technology enables dynamic pricing for leisure operators using different machine learning (ML) models to process data and forecast ticket sales, ranging from simple to advanced neural networks.
In a press release today, Convious founder and CEO Camiel Kraan said Convious is helping leisure operators in the experience economy to transition from legacy systems to more modern, industry-specific, cloud-based platforms — which Kraan claims will enable them to deliver the best experience possible through digitization.
Begin Capital led this series A funding, with participation from Market One Capital, MillionMonkeys, FJ Labs, and existing investor Capital Mills. VentureBeat connected with Convious COO Adriaan Van der Hek and Convious CTO Juozapas Zabukas to get a broader sense of the company’s technology and use cases.
Leveraging data for dynamic ecommerce pricing
With the COVID-19 pandemic pushing more organizations to accelerate their digitization in three to four years’ time, according to this survey by McKinsey, Kraan notes that ecommerce is now a must-have rather than a nice-to-have. Convious claims that its AI-powered ecommerce platform enables leisure operators to connect with their visitors, enhance their experience, increase conversions, and manage all internal operations from a single place.
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Convious uses ML models like Random Forest, LTSM, and Standard classification to approach the same data from different perspectives. According to Kraan, these models analyze historical sales data via reinforcement learning and add other data that could influence sales, such as temperature, precipitation, tickets already sold for future dates, and holidays. “Our system chooses the five forecasts with the highest accuracy, based on evolutionary algorithms, and joins these to a baseline conclusion. We have built a layer on top of the conclusion, which allows our customers to set goals and boundaries. This offers control over the final price setting,” Kraan stated.
Van der Hek noted that Convious uses AI in different areas of its platform, but with a particular focus on dynamic pricing. Speaking further on dynamic pricing, he said the company is copying and bringing what the aviation and hospitality industries have been doing for many years into the leisure market with more modern technologies. “What we are doing is pulling data from different APIs, like weather APIs and holiday APIs, to help our clients predict customer interactions and events that will help them adjust prices,” he added.
Managing partner at Begin Capital, Ruslan Sarkisyan, said Begin Capital was proud to support the Convious team on its way to transforming the industry. He added that Convious has built a must-have tech solution that will enrich the experience of both venue managers and visitors.
Technology use cases
While Convious uses AWS for data collection and processing and develops ML models in Python, Van der Hek acknowledged that gathering data does not serve any purpose without practical uses. He noted that the use of dynamic pricing is spreading, especially on the back of the coronavirus pandemic. “When COVID-19 hit, it appeared that companies were looking for a piece of technology that works really well to spread people over the week or even across the day. We already had that, and we knew it would work. So, when we are pulling data, we can tell our algorithm what to optimize for,” Van der Hek explained.
Convious says its platform helps convert visitors with personalized offers, sells tickets at dynamic real-time prices, and provides frictionless buying experience and analytics on the guests’ experience. Zabukas noted that the platform’s self-service capacities also enhance visitors’ end-to-end journeys while delivering an easy-to-use solution for all employees.
Although there are thousands of ticketing barcode solutions in the industry, Van der Hek said most of them run on software developed around 20 years ago and are so simple they don’t suit the needs of today’s large zoos and parks. He claims Convious’ differentiation is in how it uses data for optimization, which no one in the industry currently does.
Convious claims over 125 companies from 16 countries, including Snowworld, Plopsa Group, and Looping Group, use its platform to drive visitors directly through their own channels with better results, adding it increased their average conversion ratio by 86% and revenue by 201% this year.
A statement from a Convious spokesperson detailed that this additional capital will enable the company to expand further, opening up offices in the U.S., France, the U.K., Germany, and other countries. Convious will also seek to double its employee strength, as the company plans to grow its sales and product development teams going into 2022.
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