East Perth-based startup Uno Group has announced a collaborative partnership with global research and analytics firm Nielsen, a major boost for a company that just two years ago worked its way through Spacecubed’s ‘Plus Eight’ accelerator program.
The partnership, in which Uno Group will augment Nielsen’s brand research with its receipt capture technology, comes as Uno announced that Tommy Shin, Paul Kristensen and Michael Keenan would join the board to help drive global expansion.
Chief executive and co-founder Tyler Spooner said the partnership would involve providing Nielsen with Uno’s receipt capture technology to supplement its Homescan Shopper Panel, which monitors the behaviour of around 10,000 consumers Australia-wide.
“What receipt capture allows you to do is see the same thing as what they’re scanning to get the itemised data, but also [what they’re buying] when they’re out and about,” he said.
“Whether [a customer is] at McDonald’s or buying a can of Coke from the petrol station, it allows you to track all of that information.”
Mr Spooner said the partnership took shape following discussions that begun around a year ago, and was in contrast to the startup’s early days.
Plus Eight has invested more than $1.2 million into 20 startups since it launched the program in 2016, with BetterLabs Ventures and Hawaiian among its most notable financial backers.
“We went in with the idea of a restaurant app that could help people book, and from that we got business feedback that the margins weren’t there and that it would be hard to scale,” he said.
“From that, we got into groceries because we thought the margins there would be good, but they were also thin and we couldn’t scale that out.
“We started talking to brands and realised that understanding how consumers spend in stores was more valuable than grocery deliveries.”
Uno Group’s turnaround since focusing on consumer data analytics has been rapid, with Mr Spooner disclosing that the company had raised $1 million over the past two years, $250,000 of which has come from investors at Perth Angels.
During that time Uno Group has grown from two to seven employees, with Mr Kristensen and Mr Keenan joining the board this past month in an advisory capacity.
Mr Kristensen is the president of venture capital firm Capital Technologies and non-executive chair of Aurora Labs, while Mr Keenan was a cabinet minister who served as the federal member for Stirling between 2004 and 2019.
Mr Shin, the company's non-executive chair, is also non-executive chair of Lateral as well as a former 40under40 winner.
Mr Spooner said the two appointments would aid the company in its plans for expansion in 2020, including working with clients in the financial sector and expanding to international markets such as New Zealand, Canada and the UK.
“We’re very good at technology and understanding the customer, but when it comes to working with big, global corporates, we had no idea,” he said.
“I never worked for these big corporates and I didn’t know how they think and the types of politics at play.
“It’s good to have that knowledge around us.”