Startup in the Spotlight: Curalate brings effective metrics to the visual web
Two years after launching, the growing team at Philadelphia-based Curalate is being recognized as an emerging leader in visual analytics and marketing.
Featured as one of the eight finalists among 80 applicants in this year's ad:tech Startup Spotlight series, the company has a chance to win $25,000 to complement the $3.75 million it has already been able to amass, including $750,000 in seed funding and $3 million from its Series A venture round in January.
Curalate was chosen as one of four finalists who will get a chance to pitch their business to Tourneau Thursday, Nov. 7, where they will go up against Buzztala, Shillster and OneSpot. All of the finalists were provided with booths in Innovation Alley during the New York City ad:tech conference.
In a First Round promotional video released earlier this year, Curalate's co-founders, CEO Apu Gupta and CTO Nick Shiftan, discussed the inspiration behind their company and the reasons why they believe they’re poised for dominance in the field of visual web analytics.
“Every single tool that has existed for the last 10 years has all been based around text. A whole new era was going to be ushered in, and nobody was doing anything about it,” said Gupta.
By algorithmically analyzing about 20 to 25 million Pinterest and Instagram posts daily, Curalate is able to help brands understand not only who their fans are, but what product or service they are specifically a fan of.
“If you're a retailer, we can tell you, 'Hey, this is your most popular sweater, this is what people are sharing most [and] this is what they're saying about it when they're sharing it,'” said Gupta.
Elaborating, Shiftan said, “Before, a clothing company may have known that they had a fan; they now know that they have a fan of their blue sweaters and that they found those blue sweaters on a prominent fashion blogger's website; that supplemental data is tremendously valuable to a marketer.”
Curalate was born from the ashes of Storably, a failed experiment to try and connect people who needed storage to people who had extra space in Philadelphia. While there was significant interest on a national scale for a service like Storably, it quickly became apparent Gupta and Shiftan that they weren't going to be able to match supply with demand for their service.
“We made the decision to fail fast, while there was still cash in the bank enough to try out at least one more idea,” said Shiftan.
“A small team of us came up with ideas – we came up with 70 ideas – and Curalate was one of them,” said Gupta. “We [then] came back to our investors and said, 'Look, this is it.'”
With the announcement that Pinterest is introducing promotional pins that have the same look and feel as user-generated content earlier this month, and Instagram's announcement that it is going to introduce ads to user feeds, the outlook on demand for services provided by companies like Curalate is good, even if the platforms do plan on starting slow with the ad infusion. This was noted in a blog by the Instagram team and in a quarterly earnings call earlier this week with Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO David Ebersman.
“What we announced last week is a small test with 10 advertisers to start showing ads in the Instagram feed and we're excited about it because there's a lot of interest and a lot of excited brands,” said Sandberg.
Gupta, along with the rest of the Curalate team, is excited to be on the forefront of visual analytics provision, and said, “We don't get a lot of opportunities like this […] to address a completely new market and a completely emerging technology space.”
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