An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Mike Romeri, the co-founder and CEO of Analytics2Go, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Analytics2Go – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
A2Go’s story began in 2012 when MIT professor David Simchi-Levi and I started an analytic consulting firm called OPS Rules. Both of us approached analytics from a supply chain management perspective, and initially, most of our projects were focused on improving supply chain performance. In 2014, some executives from the Brazilian private equity firm, 3G, contacted us to get our help on a price optimization challenge they were facing with one of their portfolio companies, Brazil2World (B2W). Although we initially resisted taking on the project, they persuaded us to give it a try even though e-commerce price optimization was a new domain for us.
The project was a big success. Somewhat to our surprise, we were able to improve revenues by 20% and profitability by almost 40% by using analytics to predict optimal pricing as often as 6 times per day. We began offering demand prediction and price optimization solutions afterwards and eventually created a concept that would be called “granular price optimization”, where prices are optimized over short periods of time, small geographies, or both. In 2016, Accenture agreed to buy OPS Rules. We were able to meet our 3 year earn-out obligation during year 1.
I started A2Go as an analytics-as-a-service company aimed at creating standard AI solutions (e.g., e-commerce price optimization) that could be priced low enough that small and medium-sized companies would be able to take advantage of analytics to improve the performance of their businesses. A2Go pursues opportunities with high-growth entrepreneurial companies and medium-sized businesses who understand the need for analytics but do not have the ability to develop their own AI solutions. Ideally, we provide them with a wide range of standard solutions over time that can be configured to the needs of their business. Our main focus areas right now are demand prediction, price optimization, and promotion optimization.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
Looking back, I would say it is easier for a startup to master technologies than it is to master all that is required to acquire and nurture customers. I imagine we will always be focused on improving the ROI and experience of our customers.
What does the future hold for Analytics2Go?
This year we have three key objectives, which are to:
- Develop strong referenceable relationships with 5 or more companies
- Develop five standard AI solutions with which we can demonstrate success in the marketplace; we have two now in that category, which are:
- xSell: provides purchase recommendations to quick-server restaurant customers at the time of ordering
- Price-Right: provides optimal online pricing recommendations for e-commerce companies
- Further mature our AI automation platform that we use for onboarding new customers and operating their AI solutions “as-a-service”
We need to make significant progress on these three objectives before we are ready to significantly scale the business, which we hope to kick off in Q1 2021
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Sarasota?
I think Florida is attractive to entrepreneurs because of the affordable lifestyles available here and because of the favorable tax climate. I think the local scene is still in formation, but I imagine it will become a strong and growing force in the future. It takes time to achieve a sufficient level of concentration for the scene to create new opportunities on their own.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Plan carefully and go for it. There is nothing more rewarding than developing and achieving a vision of your business concept that you helped a team of fellow entrepreneurs to realize.