BlueOcean raises $30M for its AI-based brand intelligence platform – TechCrunch

The medium is the message more than ever these days, and brands face the challenge, but also the opportunity, to capture what consumers think about them and their products if they can harness and better understand those messages, through the medium. medium used to do so. deliver them. Today, a company called BlueOcean that has built an AI-powered platform that it says can produce such insights is announcing $30 million in funding, money it will use to keep expanding its technology following rapid growth.

Insight Partners led the round, with participation from FJ Labs. The valuation is not being disclosed.

Digital life, as it unfolds these days, has created a perfect storm (heh) for BlueOcean. We spend more time online than ever, and the number of places where we can find a product or service has grown along with that: social media feeds are full of ads, content that looks like ads, lots of opinions; we make most of our news, information and entertainment sources online; we also shop there; and many of us also spend our days working in cyberspace.

That’s a lot of real estate that a brand (or a brand’s competitors) could appear on, either intentionally or inadvertently, and most likely in a way that’s outside of that brand’s control.

“Fragmentation is a big driver,” Grant McDougall, the CEO who co-founded the company with president Liza Nebel, said in an interview. “There are silos throughout the business and what we do builds on top of that, to provide a common language to understand and talk to, for example, both with the CFO about the revenue team and with the loyalty teams about messaging.”

At the same time, the tech industry that has built all those online experiences has what’s more built a huge number of tools to better analyze what is happening in that universe. AI is playing a huge role in that navigation game: it’s too much for a single human, or even a large team of humans, to analyze; so a company like BlueOcean builds technology to do some of that work for marketers and others so having better data to work with becomes very valuable.

That has developed as a very significant evolution for the startup.

The last time we covered BlueOcean was in 2020, when it focused on a more limited concept of digital brand identity: One company provided their website and a list of competitors, and a week later, for a price of $17,000, BlueOcean provided clients brand audits that included lists of actionable items to improve or completely change. (As a point of contrast, typically brand audits for big brands can cost millions of dollars and typically don’t come with specific pointers for improvement.)

Fast-forward to today, and the company has broadened the scope of what it does for customers and its overall engagement: Its AI algorithms and big data ingestion engine are now focused on providing ongoing feedback to its customers, which is they subscribe to the service at rates starting at $100,000 per year. They use BlueOcean not only to measure their overall brand recognition in the marketplace, but also to track the performance of specific products; which launch strategies are working and which are not; and the impact of different campaigns in different markets in real time so they can change and respond faster.

“A lot has changed,” McDougall said. “We are an AI-powered brand intelligence platform. Access to information and what competitors are doing is more relevant today than ever. What we do is collect information about brands in public and help them understand how they perform relative to competitors, to help them take action to improve their brands and gain market share.”

Interestingly, just as the COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge boost for e-commerce and, in general, the online consumption of everything, it has also played a significant role in the growth of BlueOcean and the approach it takes. In the world of fast-paced, constantly changing and updating information, overviews can be more meaningful than no pictures, or scrolling through for details.

“COVID has made it clear that speed is more important than accuracy,” Nebel noted. “We have data [to shape better] inclinations at this time. It’s about making changes to seize the opportunity.”

That concept has also clicked with its investors.

“Having invested in hundreds of the world’s best-known brands, we know that having fast, accurate data is vital to brand health. We have extreme faith in Blue ocean and we are excited to include them in our investment portfolio,” said Fabrice Grinda, founding partner of FJ Labs, in a statement.

BlueOcean also provides critical competitive analysis, but creates those lists of other companies and the data produced about them in conjunction with their clients, based in part on where the client sees himself and would like to see himself; and also where it is as a brand in the real world.

Image credits: Blue ocean

It has also expanded its client list – it now works with 84 brands, which may not sound like much, except these are some of the biggest companies in the world – they include Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Diageo, Cisco, Bloomingdales, and Juniper Networks. (and others it can’t name), and collectively represent what BlueOcean describes as worth $18 trillion and more than 6,000 brands, a list investors believe is poised to grow in line with how the internet is growing. .

“After leading Blue oceanWe are proud to also lead their Series B to help them scale and serve more brands,” said Whitney Bouck, MD of Insight Partners, in a statement. “As a former CMO, I know marketing is constantly challenged to deliver real ROI on brand marketing. Blue ocean gives marketing leaders quantifiable and actionable insights into brand performance for the first time, which we know is a game changer.”

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