A Q&A with Intilery founder and CEO Gareth James. The Chester, Cheshire, United Kingdom-based startup, which offers a CRM platform that allows companies to segment and customize customer communications, launched out of private beta in mid-December. It was founded in 2012 by James, who has bootstrapped the company to this point.
SUB: Please describe Intilery and your primary innovation.
James: Intilery.com provides customer-engagement marketing technology. We make it easier for companies to engage with their users and customers. The technology delivers a number of innovations, such as the ability to record and analyze all user behavior across many marketing channels by simply adding one tag to your site. We go further than traditional analytics and marketing technology by providing the tools to deliver customer communications powered by analytics, all within the Intilery technology.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
James: We are targeting both SMEs and large businesses with our software-as-a-service model and enterprise versions. Any marketer can sign up for free on the Intilery.com website and be integrated in a few minutes. Larger companies can choose to install the Intilery.com technology in their datacenter.
The target user base is marketers who would like better tools to send intelligent email campaigns and personalize their website without the need for complex integration or IT skills.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition, and what differentiates Intilery from the competition?
James: ExactTarget, Email Reaction, MailChimp, SendGrid, Peerius, Qubit Products, Monitize and Sendthru.
One of the main differences with our competitors is that Intilery.com customers can sign up and install within a few minutes, with integration requiring no IT involvement apart from adding a site tag. We capture all on-site and in-email behavior along with transactional data to provide a real-time, 360 [degree] customer view.
Our competitors require lengthy consultation periods and often do not publish their price structure. We have a transparent price structure and operate on a pay-as-you-use service, and there are no tie-ins and no minimum terms or usage. I am a great believer that you should not tie-in your customers with contracts, the service you provide should be a good enough reason to keep your customers using your product.
SUB: You just launched out of private beta. Why was this the right time to launch?
James: After six months in private beta testing, we have delivered fantastic results for our customers. The feedback from our customers has both dictated that the product is ready and that there is a strong demand for the product.
A number of customers have already benefited from installing the Intilery Customer Engagement Platform site tag and have seen positive improvements in their site conversion rate and customer engagement levels.
Kabbee, London’s leading taxicab aggregator and booking application, migrated all of their customer engagement emails to Intilery.com after examining the CRM market. The Intilery Customer Engagement Platform will enable Kabbee to automatically segment their customer base and use customer behavior to drive their customer communications.
SUB: Have you raised outside funding to this point?
James: No outside funding has been raised so far, I have funded the company. I was a shareholder of Moneysupermarket.com having worked there for ten years from the beginning of the company. Moneysupermarket.com IPOed in 2007 for GBP £1 billion. I sold my stake to raise funds to start the business. I also hold a number of non-executive and advisory roles that help me bootstrap the development of the business.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Intilery? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
James: Whilst working at Moneysupermarket.com for ten years and then The Hut Group as CIO, I researched the market looking for a technology that makes it easier to carry out customer engagement and personalization. I couldn’t find it so I decided to build my own as a product.
SUB: What were the first steps you took in establishing the company?
James: The first step was to decide that I would get back into development and invent the technology that powers Intilery. Having been the developer who built the Moneysupermarket.com website in the early 2000s, I subsequently moved more towards management. It took many hours of head scratching trying to remember how to code again. I carried out a research and development project to prove the main ideas behind the technology and then set about recruiting the team.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story or meaning behind it?
James: I spent many days trying to come up with a name, speaking to many friends and contacts trying out different ideas. I decided early on that I wanted a name that should translate well into other languages and should be abstract in concept. So I decided to do what I do best—I designed an algorithm that generated random words to a pre-defined structure; the algorithm then checked whether the name was available for registration. I came up with a shortlist of names that were available to register and picked Intilery.
SUB: What have the most significant challenges been so far to building the company?
James: Customer engagement can be a complicated idea for marketers to grasp; early on we designed the technology to be able to provide solutions for a wide range of marketing needs. We soon realized that we needed to simplify the offering to make it more accessible and easier to understand and pre-saleable. It was a significant challenge to provide a technology that delivers a solution for a complex area of marketing in a very simple way, but we believe we have done that. Early results look very promising with our customers signing up and capturing a full 360-degree view of their customers within a few minutes; this is a first in the CRM and customer engagement field.
SUB: How do you generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
James: We offer a monthly subscription to the technology—there are different plans depending on the size of the customer’s business. There are no tie-ins and our customers are free to choose the plan that best suits their needs. We also offer an enterprise version of the software that can be customized and installed as required.
SUB: What are your goals for Intilery over the next year or so?
James: We would like to attract our next 1,000 customers signing up for the software-as-a-service version and a number of enterprise customers. We continue to develop the technology and have some exciting product features coming up.