As ecommerce company Amplience raises £3.7m in its second fundraising round, Joe Curtis speaks to CEO James Brooke about how technology is cutting out the costs of RAMP and CRM for online businesses.
A company that claims to cut 90% of the costs of companies’ online media has just raised £3.7m in a second funding round.
Startup Amplience, a Rich Adaptive Media Platform (RAMP), has seen a successful past 12 months, counting new customers in Mamas & Papas, New Look, Morrisons, Tesco, DFS and House of Fraser, all of which are running its platform.
The company cuts down on the overheads such companies are charged by media firms to create and manage their websites by putting all the software needed to run it on the cloud, paid for on a subscription-basis.
CEO James Brooke explains it was not until the growth of broadband in 2008 that the technology was available to make his startup idea a reality.
He says: "You used to need agencies to build your content and every time you wanted to optimize them you had to pay a substantial amount of money and it always took a long time. It was £50,000 and upwards for flash content and bespoke design.
"That’s really where we saw a great opportunity to give companies the tools that they needed to really start to engage the audiences they were trying to address."
Amplience’s software proved popular and the firm gained customers in Shell, & Spencer, Waitrose, and Halfords.
The RAMP technology allows companies to create stylish and attractive websites for consumers, with zoom and rotate functions for pictures and sales campaigns.
Brooke’s company also enables companies to create content which then operates to the same high standards on tablets, mobiles and even smart TVs.
"Brands are able to reach consumers directly this way and it creates a very sophisticated and strong relationship to manage more and more devices all the time," Brooke says.
"It doesn’t matter what medium it is viewed on because the technology ensures you get rich and responsive rendering on any platform.
"We democratise the process. Companies suddenly feel they’re back in control of a process that has been obscured in jargon and complex terms."
He believes the advantages of cloud are manifold, particularly its potential for scalability, and claims that despite being a multi-tenanted environment – Amplience can support thousands of users at a time – latency is not an issue.
He adds: "Increasingly all the retailers integral applications are migrating into the cloud so it makes sense to base our software there too. It also means you can trial new capabilities in new channels at a much lower cost.
"We use cloud-based systems for everything we do. Before, we’d have to go through a lengthy and expensive process to build a business case but now we can do the whole thing in an afternoon on the cloud."
One of the things Amplience might soon be trialing on the cloud could be a CRM system. While the firm currently is "just an interface into a retailer’s system", Brooke wants it to start including CRM as part of its services.
"We think we can integrate CRM into our own platform," he confirms. "Hopefully we can do it in a much more engaging way.
"The website must be about you the individual, not just generic. Retailers need to be able to communicate with you in a one-to-oneway.
"Retailers didn’t care about CRM until they had a database telling them things like what their customers purchased, all of a sudden it’s their best asset."
One of the ways Brooke is looking to do this is by enabling brands to copy over the content they create using Amplience software into their social media channels.
"Increasingly it’s all about funneling those channels into one channel in the right way," he says.
For now, Amplience is hoping to expand into the US, and has a team out there as it concentrates funding across the pond.
"We’re investing heavily in getting the operation up and running," Brooke adds.