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5/7/2013
09:43 AM
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Big Data Firm Chronicles Your Online, Offline Lives

Startup Versium Analytics assembles detailed profiles of consumers and businesses to help marketers hone their pitches.

5 Big Wishes For Big Data Deployments
5 Big Wishes For Big Data Deployments
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There are traces of your existence everywhere, both online and off. Much of this disparate data, including your email addresses, credit rating, vehicle make and model, and whether you prefer gardening to scuba diving, is publicly available, but marketers may not always know where to find it.

Versium Analytics, a Redmond, Wash., startup founded last year, has gathered up these digital crumbs -- or data points -- on more than 240 million customers and 20 million businesses. This "LifeData," as the company calls it, contains billions of bits of information derived from your real-life actions. Versium indexes and analyzes the information, which it provides to its enterprise customers.

This big data includes both online and offline information in about 500 attribute fields, which "really help define who a person is," said Versium CEO Chris Matty in a phone interview with InformationWeek.

Combined with an enterprises' existing data, Versium's LifeData and analytic models can deliver the actionable insights that "can be very powerful in predicting behavior and understanding purchase propensity," said Matty.

[ Do you know how your TV-watching habits influence the ads you see? Read Tivo Research Analytics Mines Big TV Data. ]

A 20-year veteran of the tech industry, Matty has held executive positions at numerous startups, including dotcom pioneer InfoSpace.

"From the get-go, we've brought into the organization a significant volume of data from an entity that had been collecting information going back 10 years," he said. "So we were able very quickly to have a large, critical mass of data. And we were profitable just a few months in, licensing these information pieces out."

The company's ATLAS database contains billions of records on consumers and businesses. In addition to making this information available to third parties, Versium builds its own applications on top of its data platform.

For marketers, this type of information can help fill in the blanks. A major mobile carrier, for instance, might be privy to some of your personal details, such the brand of cellphone you own, how many phone minutes you use each month and the number of customer service calls you make. But Versium promises a lot more stuff, such as whether you're socially active, a frequent Twitter user or are inclined to hit "like" often on Facebook.

"The real value in all this big data is the insights that can be derived (from it). LifeData provides a new, unique lens toward understanding consumer behavior," Matty added.

Matty acknowledged that other companies are doing data analytics with similar data sets. However, he believes Versium's approach makes it unique, and therefore compelling, to organizations.

"Our analytics solution is our heavy focus," he said. "While there are a number of analytics companies that will go in and say, 'We'll help you analyze your log files, or analyze your enterprise data,' we bring a different element in that we analyze the combined set."

A university, for instance, might use Versium's software to optimize its fundraising effort. "They would upload, say, two years of historical donation data," information that Versium would then analyze, segment and append with information from its LifeData platform, Matty explained.

"We'll append (the university's) data with our LifeData and look for attributes and signals that indicate a higher propensity to fall into one of the different donation levels," he said.

Once the computer model is trained, the university can use this information to optimize its marketing campaign. For instance, people likely to be generous donors might receive a friendly call from a high-ranking university official.

"The next group down, you'll invite to a wine-tasting at one of the halls," said Matty.

Versium currently has about 30 customers licensing its data, including Constant Contact, an online marketing firm. Other customers, which Matty declined to name, include "well-known consumer package goods brands" and major mobile carriers, he said.

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