by Cem Kent, CEO
Harmonya started with a basic premise: data remains a significantly underleveraged asset in the retail and CPG (consumer packaged goods) industries. Retailers and CPGs are largely reliant on older legacy systems, and just a handful of large service driven data incumbents that aren’t driving innovation fast enough. In fact, because most global CPGs don’t sell directly to their consumers, they end up having to rely on third parties or their retail partners to aggregate and expose the sales metrics they need just to know how much they’re selling. This dynamic has given rise to a culture where data capabilities are commoditized, and industry-leading enterprises struggle to keep up with the fast evolving needs of modern commerce.
Before formally launching our company, we set out on a rigorous ideation journey in order to validate this premise with industry experts and practitioners, and to refine it further so we could articulate problems clearly and create a solution and product that addressed these problems.
We were fortunate enough to work with Team8, our first backer, who shared their foundry approach to building companies, provided initial capital investment, and afforded us the patience and time we needed to build greater conviction and ultimately a product and company that could have lasting impact.
We spent a full year in stealth mode with technology and data executives at some of the largest retailers and brands in the world, and explored the various ways data can be leveraged to improve business outcomes – from gaining better end-to-end supply chain visibility, improving omni-channel consumer experiences, to understanding consumer behavior and preferences better and more quickly.
Crucially, all domains along the commerce value chain, whether it be supply chain, eCommerce, marketing, or insights and analytics, all leverage and require access to product data – preferably rich, dynamic, and granular information. This felt very intuitive to us; after all, products are so core and fundamental to the retailers who merchandise and place them on their shelves (physical and digital) or the brands and manufacturers that develop, brand, and sell them to consumers. The problem is that the industry’s understanding of products – however crucial they are – is quite limited. Data sets within organizations are siloed, products are categorized differently across sources, and the descriptive attributes and characteristics about products are not dynamic enough to reflect industry or consumer perspectives. A step-change is required by the industry to keep up pace with the rapidly evolving needs of today’s shoppers.
Nothing quite puts this into perspective like a working session we had with one of our design partners, a global Fortune 100 CPG brand. In the middle of the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 they needed to quickly understand whether consumers were gravitating towards immunity related products. The problem? Immunity as an attribute in industry data sources simply did not exist comprehensively in any underlying product catalog. There was no easy way to validate, to reach meaningful insights quickly, and most importantly, to act.
There is so much product information that’s within our reach. Think of the product listing pages online: there are images, structured and factual attributes like nutritional information, package and dimensions, claims and benefits, and lots of unstructured data like textual product descriptions, titles, and consumer reviews. By synthesizing millions of these data points and leveraging the latest and most cutting edge approaches in modern data science, Harmonya is able to dynamically and systematically attribute products at the individual barcode level with all related concepts, from factual properties and claims, consumer benefits, audiences, activities and occasions, and more.
One can begin to imagine the possibilities that can be unlocked through a powerful product data asset, one that is fully automated, dynamic, and consumer-centric. Rich product data can help power product search on eCommerce to provide access to a wider breadth of product attributes and enable the next generation of product exploration, it can supercharge insights and analytics to streamline processes like product innovation by easily understanding market drivers of growth, and it can automate painstakingly manual processes around product attribution and coding to ensure product catalogs are always clean, reconciled, and up to date. The list of business applications for more holistically attributed product data is virtually endless.
Business leaders are more eager and open than ever to try and adopt new data and AI capabilities. Harmonya is already working with 4 out of the top 10 global CPG companies, some of the largest retailers in the US, and has partnered with technology leaders to transform and automate business operations. Our customers are using Harmonya today to accelerate the pace with which they are generating impactful insights, leading to faster decisions, and significantly improving the degree of automation within their organizations, enabling them to be more nimble and keep up with the pace of commerce.
We’re excited to be at the forefront of cutting edge enterprise data capabilities, and the depth of partnership we’ve built with our customers in a short period of time – and we’re only getting started.
P.S. We’re growing our team. If what we’re working on sounds interesting to you, we’d love to hear from you!