Launched in November by former Squarespace CEO Dane Atkinson and others, the data analytics startup gives small- to medium-sized online businesses (SMBs) a leg up in understanding the real-time metrics that are having the biggest impact on their bottom line. For Atkinson, the company’s CEO, the issue isn’t just about helping the individual businesses, it’s about leveling the playing field overall.
The very nature of data has shifted from being a solid, like “ice,” to being more like a “river,” he explained. When it was static, the average person was better equipped to track the information she needed to make decisions. But now, he added, it’s mostly just the biggest companies that can afford to mine the fast-moving “ambient data” people create and use it to their advantage.
“New tools need to exist that make the data clear and accessible to everyone, so people and SMBs can see the things that are truly impacting them,” Atkinson said. “It’s impossible to take down the giants but we can at least arm the rest of us.”
In the six months since its launch, it has already armed quite a few businesses, reaching more than 3,000 e-commerce companies, which have collectively generated about $330 million in revenue data. This month, it closed a $1.5 million seed round, which was led by Battery Ventures and included Wellington Partners, Matrix Partners and General Catalyst Partners.
Combining data sets to make better decisions
SumAll’s solution is an intuitive and easy-on-the-eye platform (accessible via desktop, iPhone and Android) that gives people a simple way of visualizing a wide range of business intelligence data. Through partnerships with e-commerce and payment systems like Shopify, PayPal and Magento (eBay and Amazon are on the way), users can integrate with SumAll in just a few clicks. Once connected, SumAll quickly analyzes the data in real time and, in a social media-like “News Feed,” gives users brief insights, such as their best revenue day of the month or the fact that old customers are spending less time on their site. It also lets them dig deep into information on taxes, shipping and units sold or sort customers by different cohorts.
Through Google Analytics, business owners are already able to see their traffic stats. And through platforms like Shopify and Etsy (which is integrated with PayPal), they can already receive basic sales and revenue metrics. Bigger sites might have in-house data science teams or work with a range of data analytics companies, from Adobe’s Omniture and Google Analytics Premium to startups like Brooklyn-based Custora and San Francisco-based GoodData.
But Atkinson said SumAll is the first platform targeting smaller businesses that pulls all of their relevant commerce data into the same place so that they can overlay different data sets (like revenue and traffic or sales over two different time periods) to determine, for example, where traffic is actually generating revenue or where time on site impacts sales.
“Our vision is you should be able to plug every kind of data in there,” he said, adding that future additions could be information from email campaigns, Facebook and bank data. So far, Atkinson added, engagement is “ridiculous,” with users spending an average of an hour and a half on the site every day.
Because “we think that this data thing is kind of important for folks,” he said the company will never charge people to link and analyze their basic data. But, over the next few months, it said it will roll out a subscription model with a variety of pricing plans that charge people for advanced features and insights, such as aggregate sales for different commerce categories so companies can see how they stack up against peers, or the ability to track sales down to specific SKUs.
Also, given its ability to monitor the transactions of thousands of stores, Atkinson said the company can extract all kinds of marketing trends and “little golden rules” (like when to give discounts or offer free shipping), and will start to publish best practices and insights.
Underscoring its commitment to changing the role of business, Atkinson said the company considered becoming a certified B Corporation (the socially responsible corporate status recently received by Etsy). But while the possibility is still on the table, they ultimately decided to draft their own corporate book on sustainability, “the SumAll constitution.” They created the charitable foundation SumAll.org and allocated 10 percent ownership to it; they also make their corporate documents, including venture agreements, ownership, salaries and bank accounts, open to the entire team.
“The existing corporate structure is ripe for abuse mostly due to obfuscation,” Atkinson said. “We have built a system where every member of the company has a voice and in many ways can reshape the company.”