Adapti, the startup that personalizes websites, has successfully raised 500k euros in seed fundingwith the help of our fundraising expert, Nicolas Valaize. We met with Antoine Granjon, co-founder and CEO, to get his views on the process.
What is Adapti.me all about?
Adapti is a tool you can install on any kind of website to make it automatically personalized for each visitor. Basically, the idea is that if you and I both visit a shoes website, we shouldn’t see the same thing since we don’t necessarily like the same kind of shoes. This is what Adapti is all about!
Adapti is able to detect and understand each visitor’s tastes, habits, lifestyle, etc. and to determine which content or product will fit each user the best. Adapti is designed to be very easy to install and to use. It works along with complex machine learning algorithms that will automatically find the right content at the right time, for the right person. Our goal is to allow small companies as well as major accounts to reach this level of personalization with a turnkey solution.
How did you come up with this project ?
At the beginning, Adapti was a final project of our MBA when Bastian and I were students at Sup de Pub, Paris. We had to build a complete business plan and imagine what the startup would be like. At that time, we were mainly concerned by the fact that our data was being collected on a massive scale with no direct benefit to us. Meanwhile, everyone was already talking about personalization: we had personalized feeds on social media, personalized cans of Coke, personalized cars… But a simple website, gathering millions of visitors, only had one version for all of them.
We knew there was an opportunity to collect and use this data in a more efficient way and we decided to build a tool that allows any website owner to make their website smarter and able to interact with each single user.
Needless to say this wasn’t a simple end-of-study project for us. Three months after the exams, the company was created in Luxembourg.
Who are your clients and what traction metrics could you share with us today?
We have now proven that Adapti actually improves the performances of a website (especially the conversion rate and the average basket) so logically, our clients are mostly in the ecommerce industry. We currently have around 40 customers, mainly based in France. Regarding our major accounts, we are very proud to work with Intermarché, Chevignon, among the biggest names!
What are the reasons behind your launch in Luxembourg?
Bastian and I both studied in Paris but quickly realized how difficult it would be to get the right attention there. Paris gathers a lot of incubators, accelerators, business angels, but as a young startup, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. In Luxembourg, the startups/accelerators ratio is much more interesting and a young startup can get known much faster. Besides, Luxembourg turned out to be a very good market to test our product, since companies tend to be more reachable for a young startup than in a big ecosystem like Paris. Finally, it has been easier for us to be financially supported, both publicly and privately.
From left to right, Bastian Jakobsen (CTO), Mathieu Volondat (Head of Sales), Daniel Antunes (Head of technologies), Antoine Granjon (CEO).
What's the financing round you're announcing today?
We are very happy to announce a first seed round of 450,000€. We have spent two years building and testing our product, and now we have gained the confidence of the market, so we want to move things up a gear. This financing round thus aims at strengthening our sales team to onboard new clients as well as making our tool perfectly ready for the mass market, which means allowing anyone to register an account and start personalizing with full autonomy.
What was the fundraising process like?
It was unsurprisingly long and tough, but in hindsight, finding and convincing investors was the easiest part. There are other unappreciated parts that pop up before and afterward, such as having the perfect pitch-deck, coming to an agreement on a term-sheet, getting all the paperwork done, etc. So it was kind of an assault course actually, it was promising but tough, sometimes surprising, sometimes disappointing, but we went through it and it was considerably beneficial.
Could you tell us about the support you received from Nicolas Valaize (our fundraising expert)?
Nicolas Valaize actually came to us to offer his full support on this seed round, from the beginning all the way to the closing. We already knew Nicolas was THE guy we needed to work with so needless to say it was a huge relief to have him onboard! Naively, I thought being supported by a fundraising expert was mainly beneficial for his connections and his ability to deal with business angels. But it’s definitely much more than this.
Firstly, Nicolas helped us get ready for the investor meetings, which of course implied having a perfect pitch deck, but also a completely remodeled financial forecast, plus a visionary story telling. Thereafter, we held countless meetings with many investors, in Luxembourg and abroad. Nicolas was always there both advising us and acting as a middleman to ease the process. When we finally gathered the desired amount, Nicolas used his skills and experience to get everybody to agree on a term-sheet, and then on a shareholder agreement, until the signature at the notary’s office.
How did the negotiations go with your investors?
Contrary to popular opinion, or at least to what I thought beforehand, the negotiations were not the hardest part at all. Nicolas was able to ease the talks and obtain us a deal that seemed quite fair for each party. Our investors now trust our capabilities to execute the plan and vision we introduced to them.
Fundraising is just the beginning, what's next for Adapti?
In a near future, our goal is to enlarge our team, get our product pixel-perfect for the mass market, and make Adapti a recognized tool in the personalization market. Over a second phase, we want to expand internationally and quickly become a reference in the websites market, enabling any website to smartly interact with visitors. There is a lot to do in terms of personalization, and we intend to become a strong player in the art of making digital/human interactions easier.