Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Infosys co-founder Gopalakrishnan invests in predictive analytics startup Crayon Data

Entrepreneur Suresh Shankar is building 'TasteGraphs' at Crayon that businesses, from hotels to banks, can use to connect with end consumers in a better way

Harichandan Arakali
Published: Nov 9, 2017 07:25:50 PM IST
Updated: Nov 10, 2017 03:57:56 PM IST

Left to Right: Vikram Rao, CEO, Crayon Data; Kris Gopalakrishnan, co-founder, Infosys; Vijaya Kumar Ivaturi, co-founder and CTO, Crayon Data; Suresh Shankar, Founder, Crayon Data

Infosys co-founder Senapathy Gopalakrishnan has picked up stake in Crayon Data, a predictive analytics company in Singapore and Chennai. The investment is a part of Crayon’s Series A2 round of funding — meaning not quite series B — the big data venture said in a press release on Novemer 8.
Kris, as the Infosys co-founder is popularly known, is backing a venture that also counts Jungle Ventures, Ratan Tata, the chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, and Mitsui & Co. Ltd. as its investors, in addition to other angel investors. Crayon will use the money to deepen its technological offerings and expand its reach in markets world wide.

Accurately predicting and recommending what an individual consumer might want next or in addition to an existing purchase at just the right time, with just the right degree of contextual relevance is the holy grail of sales across businesses. And ventures such as Crayon are combining cloud-based data crunching power and increasing availability of data from digital transactions — from credit card purchases to social media posts — to attempt such predictions and recommendations for their clients.

"The future of business will be the ability to leverage AI and big data to create 'personal' digital experiences for millions of customers," Gopalakrishnan said in Crayon’s press release. Crayon’s solutions bridge multiple worlds: analytics to digital, offline to online, internal, and external data. This makes them as critical to credit cards, travel and hospitality and retail enterprises, in the same way that "a Bloomberg terminal is to traders today," he added.

Crayon’s flagship product Maya is currently used by the largest credit card issuer in India, the number one bank in the UAE, a global credit cards leader in the US, one of the largest airlines in the world, the analytics startup said in its release.

"In the past year alone we have tied up with seven marquee clients. We now work with leading banks in almost every geography,” Crayon’s CEO Vikram Rao, said in the release. “Maya currently knows the tastes of over 20 million customers worldwide. Our plan is to reach 100 million customers in a year, and reach the 1 billion mark in 2020.”

Banks use Maya to run campaigns to activate dormant or inactive customers, to activate new category spends, and promotional campaigns. Maya has delivered over 20 million impressions for eight clients, across traditional and digital channels, according to Crayon. And hotels use Maya to improve booking rates and revenue per guest.

“Crayon is single minded about its mission – to help enterprises #GetPersonal with their customers,” founder Suresh Shankar, said in the release. Shankar started Crayon in 2012 after selling his previous venture RedPill Solutions to IBM in 2009 where he stayed on for a bit in the interim.