We caught up with Celect (acquired by Nike)…
Tell us about your company. What problem are you trying to solve?
Celect is a cloud-based, predictive analytics SaaS platform that helps retailers optimize their inventories through data-driven decisions in-stores, online, and across the supply chain, resulting in double-digit percentage revenue increases.
In today’s volatile market, where financial pressures persist and customer expectations evolve rapidly, retailers must make more effective inventory-related decisions. The stakes have never been higher when it comes to determining what, when, where and how much customers will buy, and Celect offers retailers a reliable way to anticipate consumer demand at a localized level to make smarter, more profitable inventory decisions throughout the merchandise planning and allocation (MP&A) process.
How did your company get started?
Celect was founded in 2013 by two MIT professors, Vivek Farias and Devavrat Shah, based on research they had done around how to model the purchasing choices consumers make. This fundamental advance in customer choice modeling powers the underlying machine-learning and optimization technology behind Celect’s platform today, called by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory one of the 50 greatest innovations it has ever produced.
Why is your team well positioned to solve the problem you’re tackling?
Our award-winning technology, which includes six patents, allows retailers and brands to predict future buying behaviors and patterns (across all channels, including both online and in-store) with extreme accuracy, at scale, so they can make more effective merchandising, allocation and fulfillment decisions.
Additionally, our solution suite is purpose-built for retail and we’ve successfully helped top brands such as the ALDO Group, Lucky Brand, Neiman Marcus, Polo and Urban Outfitters increase revenue and gross margins, reduce markdowns, increase full-price sell through, boost in-store conversions and minimize stockouts — all while improving the shopper experience.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
One of the biggest lessons learned from the countless conversations we’ve had with different retailers is there is no silver-bullet solution. However, in an industry undergoing an unprecedented transformation where in-store revenues and foot traffic are in decline, bottom line improvements require a clear understanding and ability to adapt to customers’ ever-changing needs in advance, across multiple channels. That’s exactly where Celect comes in.
Moreover, inventory continues to be both a retailers’ largest liability and greatest asset. Those who leverage their data effectively with advanced analytics can take the guesswork out of the picture and make more informed inventory investments catered toward a true understanding of customer demand.
What resources do you rely on to help your company grow?
Our recent round of funding – $15 million in Series C financing led by NGP Capital and existing investor Fung Capital – will help fuel our growth as we progress into the new year. The plan is to expand our engineering and sales teams, further enhance our patented technology solutions, and aggressively grow market share. We’re excited to continue our work and ensure all retailers can make accurate demand predictions that optimize retail inventories throughout the entire product lifecycle, from planning and buying through allocation, fulfillment and markdown.
Celect was acquired by www.nike.com