When Edris Bemanian first joined Engage3 a decade ago, he probably couldn’t have predicted that he would become the company’s CEO just seven years later. At the time, he was relatively early in his career and had just been recruited to lead the business development function by the company’s Co-Founders Tim and Ken Ouimet.
“Tim and Ken had an extensive background in pricing that extended all the way back to their childhood,” says Edris. “Their parents founded a company called CPI in the 1970s that used to collect prices and sell them to retailers.” Eventually the brothers founded their own company, Khimetrics, which had a suite of enterprise software solutions that help retailers analyze how to best price and position items.
After selling that business to SAP in 2006, they set their sights set on a new endeavor. They decided to start building a platform that would help retailers understand how pricing drives their website traffic, sales, and customer loyalty, and then use those insights to help them achieve their business objectives. In 2008, they launched Engage3 and began working to realize that vision. They brought Edris on five years later to help.
A cloud-based SaaS solution, Engage3 helps retailers understand who they’re competing with on price and where, and how that varies across channels, markets, geographies, customer segments, and even individual items. It does this by collecting 80 billion different data points every month and using artificial intelligence to analyze that data and extract key insights to help retailers decide what they should do to attract and retain customers.
Among the data Engage3 collects are prices across the marketplace, including regular prices, markdown prices, promotional prices across both online and in-store channels, and additional product attribute information (health claims, environmental claims, etc.). They combine the data they collect with the data they receive from their customers, including all of their sales and transactional information. The company’s proprietary Price Image algorithms leverage this data and other factors like seasonality, shopper behavior, psychological pricing thresholds, and more to identify the best combination of prices and products to help businesses build loyalty with their customers while achieving their profit objectives. “Collectively, all of these data points allow us to understand how both the market and consumers are reacting to prices,” says Edris.
Engage3 currently works with seven of the top ten retailers in the world, giving them greater clarity on who their competitors are and how they compete with them from a pricing perspective. “Using Price Image, we also help them understand how their prices are perceived in the market and then help them take control of their Price Image and align it to their business objectives,” says Edris. “And we don’t just cater to large enterprises. Plenty of single store independent retailers use our platform as well.”
When Edris first met founders Tim and Ken, he was hired in business development. In reality though, he effectively worked as a consultant, helping them to solve a variety of problems such as recruiting and finding early adopters for the platform. As they worked through those problems and eventually pivoted the business from a B2C to a B2B model, Edris stepped into the role of Chief Operating Officer. By the beginning of 2020, he had become the company’s CEO, focused on helping grow the business while Tim and Ken worked to further enhance the platform.
Over the years, one of the areas Edris was focused on was trying to secure funding for the company. He was introduced to the Moneta Ventures team in early 2015 and was initially turned down for funding. Not one to be deterred, he persisted. “Moneta is made up of operators who have actually run and scaled successful businesses before,” says Edris. “Plus, they’re incredibly smart and easy to work with. We absolutely wanted to have them as investors.”
That persistence paid off. In 2017, Moneta co-led the company’s Series B round, its first true institutional round of funding. Prior to that the company had been largely bootstrapped, relying on capital that the founders had generated from the sale of their previous business. Moneta’s decision to back the business came in response to Engage3 not only shifting its business model, but also successfully hitting an array of metrics that gave the team the confidence to not only lead the round, but also participate in follow-on rounds.
“Back when we first invested, Edris was still the COO,” says Lokesh Sikaria, Founder and Managing Partner of Moneta Ventures. “As we were evaluating the company, it became clear to us that he had great potential. We also trusted his vision, so it was great to see him become CEO. In fact, our confidence in Edris was an important factor in our decision to back Engage3. The reality is that when we invest, it’s often as much about the people as the company itself since success ultimately comes down to their ability to execute.”
“It’s been a great long-term relationship,” says Edris. “Moneta is very attuned to the needs of their portfolio companies. They know when and where to come in and provide impact, but don’t interfere with our day-to-day business. Plus, it’s really comforting knowing that they’re always just a phone call away. As a CEO, anytime I don’t know something and don’t have another place to get the answer, I know I can call them and get frank and unbiased advice.”
In 2022, Engage3 saw an opportunity to take its business global by acquiring Dexi, the leading provider of AI-enabled web data collection. The acquisition gave the company customers in more than 180 countries while also doubling the size of the team to more than 250 people. In addition, it brought in strong new capabilities around data capture, collection, aggregation, and normalization, and extended the company’s footprint, which now has offices in Davis; Scottsdale, Salt Lake City, Copenhagen, and London as well as in Tirana Albania among other locations.
“Ultimately, the goal we’re working toward is to help retailers and brands meet consumers where they want to be met and figure out how to best improve loyalty so that they capture more of their share of wallet,” says Edris. “We want to help retailers and brands understand how to price to individual consumers through their loyalty programs so that they can offer their customers the best possible prices on the products they actually care about.”
Given that more than $100 billion is spent on trade promotions in the US each year and that three-quarters of those promotions fail to break even, we believe Engage3 is well positioned to disrupt what is currently a highly inefficient market.