I caught up with Peter McCaul, Founder of Péarlaí, real-time customer data tracking platform designed to give shopping centres actionable insights on their customers.
What does your Péarlaí do?
Most businesses have a website now and use Google analytics or something similar to measure how its working for them. Péarlaí has the best of Google Analytics and Adwords for physical sites (shopping centres specifically for now) with more detailed data, more accurate and with more benefits for visitors.
Péarlaí has 4 key stakeholders who benefit from our services:
1. Shoppers get all year round discount from multiple stores by carrying one keyring, personalised text messages from their favourite stores while on site and rewarded for their loyalty eg Hi Jane, you've been here an hour go get a free coffee on us OR Hi Jane, you've been here 3 times this week your parking is free today.
2. Tenants get indisputable evidence of how effective a centres marketing budget is for them e.g. Costa Coffee sent 1000 text messages last week, 350 shoppers stopped and entered their store and we can tell them who they are, where they come from, how many times they visited and how long they spent with them and much more.
3. Landlords get detailed demographic details of who their visitors are and which routes they take through the centre. This enables them to attract the perfect tenants and charge the correct rates.
4. Centre management have access to data in real time which provides them with a finger on the pulse of the health of their centre at the click of a button. Péarlaí was developed with the advice of leading shopping centre managers and marketers for centre managers and marketeers and exceeds all expectations for them and their shoppers..
What made you start your company - was it a personal passion, a problem you identified, or a market opportunity?
I had a previous business IDC-Intell (Incentivised Data Capture) which worked within shopping centres and rewarded shoppers for providing personal and shopping habits data. Just over 2 years ago we first heard of the impending GDPR changes which would have big implications within shopping centres as the majority of them used email marketing. This started our journey of looking for a technology where we could add shoppers details to which would enable us to track, send messages and reward while on site. We know this is a competitive market with companies using smart camera's to identify and track shoppers but the data is anonymous, beacons which require shoppers to not only download but engage with an App which takes up precious memory on handsets and Wifi tracking which is getting more accurate but doesn't have much detail. Péarlaí has highly advanced technology but our implementation is very very simply where all a shopper has to do is carry a small key ring.
What funding have you received so far?
Péarlaí has raised an initial £50k through our participation on the London based marketing technology accelerator Collider and their highly connected Angel network, then a follow on round of £70k as one of the top 3 companies on the program. We have also secured £75k of our current £250k round which we plan to close by the end of February with a number of London and local based investors that we are in discussions with at the minute.
Do you think your investors invested in the idea, the product, the founders, or the team?
I honestly think it’s a combination of the product strength and founding team. We have world exclusivity for our hardware / software product - it’s one of the smallest IoT enabled readers on the market, the most cost effective and accurate. And then the team - I have had a number of previous businesses ranging from hospitality, security and technology, and my co-founder Jim has had a number of previous companies too. Our founding and technical team are incredibly experienced, and we’ve all known each other for 30 years.
Any advice for the perfect pitch deck?
Statistics / results are better than predictions.
What was the hardest thing about doing your funding round?
Dealing with multiple investors and trying to get them all to sign before a specific date was challenging.
If there were three things you could tell a founder looking to do their round, what would they be?
- Leave plenty of time to close your round,
- Hussle, contact as many potential investors as possible in the time you have and be prepared for some rejection,
- Use Seedlegals
How did you hear about SeedLegals, and how was your experience?
We used Sparkup a platform which creates a professional investment profile to share with our contacts and they had an agreement with Seedlegals. I found Seedlegals team extremely accessible and always on hand to lend advice when needed and their platform very user friendly.
What's next on the horizon for Pearlai?
Péarlaí has launched and have a very healthy sales pipeline with some of the largest shopping centre companies in the world interested.
We have a highly connected sales partner channel in the UK & Ireland and we will be growing this across EMEA with the US to follow. Péarlaí has the team (which will grow), the best product for shopping centres on the market and the ambition to create a truly global business over the next few years and we can't wait.
Watch this space.