Spotlight on Bart Bohn, Co-founder of AuManil in Austin

Bart Bohn, co-founder of AuManil

Bart Bohn, co-founder of AuManil

A few years ago, Bart Bohn co-founded Ravel, a big data analytics firm. Ravel applied analysis to big data sets like Reddit and Tumblr to create social graphs. W2O bought Ravel in 2012. Before that Bohn served as director of wireless and information technology at the Austin Technology Incubator from 2007 to 2011. He’s been involved in Austin’s startup scene for a long time. His current startup is AuManil. The company created a software program that does predictive customer management. Last week, Bohn met with Silicon Hills News at Ino’z under giant Cypress trees near the river in downtown Wimberley.

Q. Can you explain your product in the simplest language possible?

A. We help our customers take proactive actions to keep their customers and improve their customer satisfaction. All that enables them to make more money from them over their lifetime.

Q. What’s your secret sauce? What differentiates you from the competition?

A. The core of it is our algorithms and the ability to create algorithms about an individual person at scale. So what that means is that we would end up building a different one for each person so that we can measure changes in your behavior relative to yourself instead of against some generic average.

Q. When AuManil started it out, the focus was on predictive retention of customers in the video game space, but the company has since pivoted to all online retailers. Can you explain why?

A. We grew beyond just that narrow focus. Free to play games are a $15 billion industry. The U.S. online retail industry is a $350 billion to $400 billion business. We definitely grew into a much bigger opportunity.

Q. Who are your competitors?

A. With the larger companies, it’s in house data team. They hire PhDs in physics. They build their own data teams and they use tools like SPSS and SAS. There is a couple doing retail. InsightOne does a lot of work in the health industry. Windsor Circle is another one.

Q. Are you Bootstrapped, or do you have Venture Capital or Angel Investment?

A. We raised a little bit of angel money last May. We’re raising more money over the summer. We’re in the Beta Angel stage still.

Q. Who makes up your team?

A. We have two founders: myself and Philip Flesher, who led the teams responsible for rebuilding Bazaarvoice’s data platform, which is one of the top ten most trafficked websites in the world. We also have a couple of contractors and advisers.

Q. Where are you based?

A. Our offices are based mostly out of Capital Factory. We’re part of their incubator program.

Q. Who are your customers?

A. Spacetime Studios and then we’re working with a couple of local online retailers.

Q. Are there particular industries that you are targeting?

A. We like repeat purchases. When it’s food you have to eat all the time. Another one is cosmetics or healthy and beauty. Another one is entertainment. Apparel is the biggest one. Consumer electronics is also a big category.

Q. What was the biggest mistake so far since your launch?

A. I think it would be the pace at which we proved value versus built the product.

Q. What is your business model?

A. Software as a service with a monthly subscription fee.

Q. What is the biggest win you’ve had to date?

A. We won the CTAN and ATI pitch competition at SXSW. And we were on the GigaOm 10 startups to watch list.

Q. What are the most helpful Austin startup resources that you’ve used?

A. Certainly, the core team at ATI and the mentors at Capital Factory. Some of the angels from CTAN have provided great feedback. Outside of that, we spent so much time in the video game space and the community leaders in that space were very helpful, very open, receptive and encouraging.

Q. What are the advantages of being in Austin for launching your startup?

A. Team and community. Finding talent has always been a challenge. But in Austin you can find individuals who can make a big impact. And there’s enough supply of people at this early stage that you can get them. And Austin itself is just becoming the center of gravity for startups. You see that with TechStars opening here and SXSW is getting bigger every year. And now we have Startup Week. All of that is bringing a lot of attention to Austin.

Q. What are your plans for the future?

A. Raise a real seed round and build out the core team. Get a full time data scientist and then a data engineer.

Q. Anything else you’d like to add or say that I haven’t asked you about?

A. Austin is a place for creative talent. I used ATI as a platform to go create new things. That turned out to be 3-Day Startup, the UT summer accelerator. All of that is really accepted in Austin. You see something, you go create it and the whole community helps you do it.

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