Convious, the Amsterdam-based AI-driven ecommerce platform, has raised $12M in a Series A round of funding. The startup is known for its software that uses different machine learning (ML) models to enable dynamic pricing for leisure operators and those in the business of experience economy.
The startup led by founder and CEO Camiel Kraan has been focused on helping leisure operators in the experience economy move away from legacy software. It offers solutions for theme parks, zoos, museums and other businesses to improve their visitors’ experience and with over 100 visitor attractions, the startup is ready for its next chapter with the Series A funding led by Begin Capital.
“Despite the large size, the experience economy lagged far behind in transitioning to modern, cloud-based platforms,” Kraan states. “We often hear from the operators that legacy systems are keeping them back and busy, while they need an industry-specific product — with Convious, we strive to satisfy their needs, delivering the best experience possible and bringing them into the age of digitisation.”
How Convious uses ML models to offer dynamic pricing
The fundamental idea of Convious is to bring the online ecommerce experience to offline avenues like theme parks, zoos, museums and wellness centres. Kraan argues that ecommerce has gone from nice-to-have to must-have for businesses and its software platform helps leisure operators in the experience economy to embrace ecommerce services faster.
A survey by McKinsey shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies by several years. The survey found that organisations have accelerated digitisation of their customer and supply-chain interactions by three to four years. Convious is one of those companies making this digitisation journey possible and easy to scale.
The startup offers an AI-powered ecommerce platform to leisure operators that helps them connect with their visitors. The ML model then helps these operators to enhance their experience, increase conversions and manage all of their internal operations using a single piece of software.
The startup relies on ML models like Random Forest, LTSM, and Standard classification and approaches the same data from different perspectives. Convious’ software uses these ML models to analyse historical sales data through reinforcement learning and then add additional parameters that could influence sales. These include factors such as temperature, precipitation, tickets already sold and holidays.
Machine learning is a subset of AI that allows machines to learn from data and in the case of Convious, the ML models create a baseline conclusion allowing customers to set their own goals and boundaries. While AI is embedded into various aspects of its platform, Convious says it is using AI to offer dynamic pricing.
Dynamic pricing is a common practice in industries such as hospitality, tourism, entertainment, retail and even public transport. While each industry takes a different approach to dynamic pricing, they allow companies to know their customers better. A good example is Uber’s surge pricing which led to backlash and forced Uber to place a cap on the highs of surge pricing.
Convious makes dynamic pricing possible for companies in the experience economy by using modern technologies. It pulls data from different APIs and factors in constraints such as weather and holidays to help customers predict prices. While the model is capable of predicting a price, Convious gives control to its customers to set the final pricing.
Convious and the quest to end legacy software
The business model of Convious relies on gathering large amounts of data and using its ML models to predict pricing for its customers. However, the company COO Adriaan Van der Hek told VentureBeat that “gathering data does not serve any purpose without practical use [case]”. Convious, like many other European startups, uses AWS for data collection and processing and builds ML models using Python.
Van der Hek sees real value in its dynamic pricing model and says that its use is spreading on the back of the pandemic. With historical data at its disposal, Convious has a solution that can help businesses offer personalised products, sell tickets at dynamic real-time prices and most importantly, offer a frictionless user experience.
The platform also offers analytics that allows its customers to understand guests’ experience. Convious says its platform is being used by over 125 customers across 16 countries including Snowworld, Plopsa Group and Looping Group. It has helped these customers increase their conversion ratio by 86 per cent and revenue by 201 per cent in 2021. With the new funding, Convious aims to expand into new markets and bring its service to more customers with local teams.
“The demand for our platform as well as for new features and integrations is larger than we ever imagined. In order to extend our product at a fast pace, expand into new markets and be able to bring our services to the next level, we raised $12M in a Series A funding round,” the company said in a blog post.