In line with an IPO, what does the $100M acquisition of Unbxd mean for Netcore – YourStory

Since 2019, Netcore Cloud, a company that offers a no-code customer engagement platform, has been on an acquisition spree, taking over conversational AI platform Quinto.ai, AI-first omnichannel personalisation and recommendation engine Boxx.ai, and real-time, no-code product experience platform Hansel.io. 

As the company moves towards an IPO, it is identifying more investments and strategic acquisitions that will help it grow and increase revenues from international markets across North America, South America, and Europe to 30-40 percent. 

In line with this, Netcore has acquired a majority stake in US-based personalisation company Unbxd by investing close to $100 million – the largest investment in SaaS in India in this decade. 

Unbxd’s AI-powered search expertise equips Netcore Cloud to deliver real-time recommendations to its ecommerce/app-first brands and retailers. This will empower its customers to track shopper interactions and implement site-wide personalisation and merchandising, along with shopper-focused recommendations.

Netcore Cloud’s business targets for 2025 have been revisited following this acquisition, which has “brought our overall ARR from $85 million to $100 million in three months”.

In a conversation with YourStory, Kalpit Jain, Group CEO, Netcore Cloud, talks about the cloud giant’s plans after the Unbxd acquisition. 

Edited excerpts from the interview:

YourStory (YS): How is the Unbxd acquisition going to help with overall plans and strategy? 

Kalpit Jain (KJ): D2C and ecommerce brands need strong technological capabilities to offer shoppers more customised experiences and increase conversions. Today, AI-powered personalisation is important at every touchpoint to create a strong shopping experience.

Unbxd’s AI/ML tech stack offers enhanced product discovery and search optimisation capabilities, delivering more relevant and memorable experiences. It allows brands to implement site-wide personalisation, merchandising, and shopper-focused recommendations. Using the power of AI, brands can convert them from shoppers into buyers.

Our customisation product suite complements Unbxd’s AI-powered search optimisation and relevant solutions, reinforcing Netcore Cloud’s position as a one-stop solution for digital-first ecommerce brands. The combined solutions allow us to scale business globally across the US, developed markets, and Southeast Asia. 

YS: How will this impact India and Southeast Asian markets?

KJ: Ecommerce sales in SEA markets are estimated to double to $254 billion at the end of 2026, according to a report by Bain & Company. India is also emerging as a key market for ecommerce, with the market expected to reach $350 billion by 2030.

We aim to transform the digital commerce experience in these markets with our superior onsite and offsite solutions. With search personalisation being a relatively new concept in India, Unbxd’s offerings will help customers with the following:

  1. Offer 1:1 personalised experience via machine learning algorithms based on up to 50 shopper signals
  2. Help customers with products they love the most 
  3.  Personalised product recommendations

YS: What are your challenges and how do you tackle them? 

KJ: Brands are operating in an extremely competitive market today. They face several challenges to remain relevant in the constantly evolving environment and meet customer expectations. They must equip themselves with the right technology capabilities to address these business requirements to stay ahead in changing market dynamics. With rising customer acquisitions cost, ensuring a healthy Return on Investment (ROI) from marketing spending and improving customer retention are top of mind for most CMOs and business leaders. 

Unbxd and Netcore Cloud help deliver 5-8X times the ROI on marketing spend by increasing conversion rates and lifetime value. We provide a unified view of the consumer through our platform and an optimised, bespoke shopping experience throughout the shopper’s journey. We also equip brands with an interactive feedback loop that will help them craft an effective customer retention strategy.

Furthermore, brands can now increase profitability by leveraging the power of a wider set of applications of the combined offerings, eliminating gaps produced by solutions that operate in silos.

YS: With data and privacy core concerns, how does a giant like Netcore Cloud work nimbly around them? 

KJ: Nowadays, customers are more conscious about protecting their privacy and keeping their data secure. According to the PwC Report 2020, about 85 percent internet users demand more data privacy and skepticism around data collection. This is a startling statistic, and I believe it is due to increasing connectivity and data availability. 

As a result, we’ve invested extensively in advanced resources and controls to protect and service our customers. We’re committed to building strong security capabilities to safeguard our technology and our customers from malicious attacks. 

Our teams oversee the data security programme and governance processes. We continuously refine our existing controls and security framework. In a nutshell, the privacy of all our clients is valued, and every Netcorian is committed to protecting it.

YS: What are the next steps, post-acquisition? 

KJ: There will be no change in the company’s management as the founders and key management will continue building and growing the company. Unbxd will operate under its brand name and be known as Unbxd-Netcore company. 

However, customers can leverage significant synergies between our tech stacks for a seamless experience. Existing Netcore Cloud and Unbxd customers get a full-stack solution on a single platform from email marketing, merchandising, and product recommendation to search personalisation, all on a single platform. There is no requirement for multiple integrations, and customers can seamlessly leverage data across the platform.

We are eyeing international expansion, a major growth driver in the coming years. In India, we hold a significant leadership position as our email business saw exponential growth of 50 percent post the pandemic lockdown, with $12.5 billion coming from emerging markets alone. 

We would like to replicate this achievement in America, Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East. We aim to increase our revenues from international markets to 30-40 percent by 2025 through strategic partnerships and acquisitions. 

We plan to double our workforce by this year, fuel our expansion plans, and establish a strong foothold in the developed market. Besides, we plan to go IPO by the end of the financial year. 

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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