Dublin Startup Stories: ChannelSight

Dublin startups tell their stories, powered by DCU Ryan Academy.

Meet John Beckett (pictured), CEO of ChannelSight…

Tell us about your product…
We help brands to grow sales by providing a digital Buy Now service that enables shoppers to easily locate a retailer where they can purchase the product they are interested in. This simplified purchasing process allows brands to build better customer relationships, increase conversion rates and improve marketing effectiveness by showing which ads are working and are not.

What inspired you to start ChannelSight?
We sat down in late 2012 and talked about where we saw Ecommerce going: where was it evolving to, and what could we build to facilitate that move and add value to that process. ChannelSight’s tech was the result of that initial scoping session.

What market are ChannelSight targeting and how big is it?
The ecommerce market in Europe alone was worth €477 billion in 2014. We calculate the addressable market for this enabling technology at approximately 0.1% of the total ecommerce market, or over €1.2 billion this year.

What’s your business model?
We charge monthly fees based on the retailers and brands connected by our service; it’s highly transparent, meaning our clients can see exactly what they will be paying when the service is rolled out.

What was the funding process like?
We self-funded for the first 2.5 years until we had proven product-market fit and built our revenues to de-risk the proposition. We have just completed a venture-led fundraising round.

channelsight-logo Dublin-Globe

Who are your investors, how much did you raise and why does that matter?
We raised €3.3m, led by Nauta Capital, and supported by ACT Venture Capital in Dublin. Our priority in the funding was to ensure we partnered with people who shared our vision for the business.

Who are your competitors and potential partners, if any?
We compete with other Buy Now services such as the Google Shopping service, and have a number of key differentiators that put us in the sweet spot between advanced functionality, ease of deployment and cost for the clients we are targeting. We have already partnered with a number of leading global agencies such as M&C Saatchi, and platform owners such as Innovid.

What are the biggest challenges that ChannelSight faces today?
As a high growth business, balancing the demands of a rapidly expanding client base with available resources, while ensuring we continue to keep R&D progressing at the pace we need it to, is a challenge. Our new funding partners were brought in specifically to address this, and I’m very confident we are now well placed to take maximum advantage of the opportunity.

What do you think motivated your investors to write that check?
Three key things: a compelling opportunity, demonstrated product/market fit and traction with blue chip clients, and a credible team who the investors believe can execute the business plan.

What milestones do ChannelSight plan to achieve in the next six months?
We have a number of key hires, partnerships and new product functionality targets that we are confident we can get sorted in the next six months!

What advice can you offer companies in Dublin who are just starting out?
The more proof you can provide concerning your team’s ability to exploit the opportunity you claim is available to you, the better.
Have skin in the game if at all possible: you’re looking for a funding partner to sit on the same side of the table as you, especially when times get rough. You don’t want to be dealing with a problem in your business and have an investor shouting at you, as you’ll be fighting battles on two fronts.
Know the barriers to entry for competitors and how can you increase them to protect your market share, and always understand who is competing for the budget you are targeting from your clients. It may not be obvious, but that money will be spent somewhere if not with you, so know where that is!

Tell us one (or more) things you love about Dublin as a startup community and as a city?
The commute from home is shorter than to London! Also, Dublin offers a good ecosystem, plus connectivity (internet and travel-related) and a network of well-travelled, experienced people.

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