Mutiny, which personalizes website copy and headlines using AI, raises $50 million – TechCrunch
Advertising, especially online advertising, is not a surefire way to drive business. A report from e-commerce analytics platform Glew drives home the point: in 2015, 75% of retailers who spent at least $5,000 on Facebook ads ended up losing money on those ads, with a return on average investment of about -66.7%. Obviously, that’s just one segment – retail. But the picture does not clear up even after expanding to all categories of advertising. A 2018 survey marketers by Rakuten Marketing have found that companies waste approximately 26% of their budget on ineffective advertising channels and strategies.
Jaleh Rezaei, CEO of Mutiny, believes the problem is not with the ads themselves. Instead, it associates it with static, templated websites that don’t match the personalization offered by ads. When buyers follow an online ad, they often land on a generic website with no target call to actionand soon leave without understanding why they should buy.
“I encountered the ‘conversion problem’ firsthand when I ran marketing at Gusto,” Rezaei told TechCrunch via email. “We were able to drive top-of-funnel growth through ads and other channels, but it didn’t convert to revenue. We solved that problem by creating a team of growth engineers who wrote a lot of custom code to get customers to buy – from optimizing our website and signup form to driving upsells and referrals in the app. But most companies don’t have the engineers or the know-how to do all this.
That’s why, says Rezaei, she co-founded Mutiny, which today announced it has raised $50 million in a Series B funding round co-led by Tiger Global and Insight Partners at a valuation of $600 million. Mutiny’s platform is designed to connect to a company’s data and website, using AI to serve thousands of versions of the site to different users.
“Revenue growth is the number one priority of every CEO and senior executive. Over the past decade, companies like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn, along with an ecosystem of advertising and SEO technology tools, have enabled businesses to easily connect with their target buyers online,” Rezaei continued. “However, now that spending money online has become table stakes, the puck has focused on reducing waste. marketing and turning those dollars into revenue.”
AI powered website engine
Prior to co-founding San Francisco-based, Y Combinator-backed Mutiny, Rezaei was Director of Product Marketing at VMware. She then joined the marketing team at Gusto, a payroll management platform, before taking on consulting roles at Y Combinator and Google.
Mutiny’s other co-founder, Nikhil Mathew, helped launch LiveGit, an online tool for real-time music collaboration. He then became lead software engineer at Gusto, where he managed and led the development infrastructure team. (Rezaei and Mathew worked together at Gusto.)
The idea behind Mutiny was to develop an AI system that could learn from a company’s online data to provide advice on underperforming customer segments, Rezaei says. Specifically, Mutiny recommends segments for personalization and shows businesses how others have personalized for that segment. This could suggest to a company, for example, that small startups don’t convert well on their website, then show them how their rivals have customized their homepages.
In marketing parlance, “convert” refers to a visitor who achieves a desired goal, whether it’s buying a product or simply voluntarily providing their contact information.
“Businesses today can use a long suite of labor-intensive manual alternatives such as connecting data to A/B testing tools, creating hundreds of landing pages, or hiring growth engineers and data scientists to manually connect and analyze data, imagine and build custom solutions for different customer segments, and measure and iterate internally,” Rezaei said. “There are also point solutions that help businesses with various aspects of customization, but either they don’t use AI or they’re a managed service that the customer can’t take advantage of in self-service… We’re creating a new category that makes it… easy for any IT specialist marketing to create personalized experiences and increase conversion. »
Mutiny – whose AI also learns from site data from different customers – can generate copy for a website based on what worked for another adjacent brand’s audience. (Rezaei says the data is “fully anonymized”, “never shared or sold”, and compliant with applicable privacy laws.) . While Mutiny initially only applied GPT-3 to site title suggestions, the company eventually began applying the model to full-page generation, leveraging Mutiny’s customer data to tune GPT-3 to this end.
“Our AI learns from a proprietary dataset of hundreds of standardized and anonymized buyer attributes and the content that leads them to convert. We overlay this with… GPT-3 textual data to generate site copy High-converting web… [Copy is generated for] segments based on user-selected value accessories, such as ‘security’ and ‘ease of use’,” Rezaei explained. “We also train reinforcement learning algorithms with 150 million data points to predict what content resonates best with each individual buyer.”
The path to growth
Mutiny competes with several rivals in the AI-powered website personalization space, including Intellimize and Constructor. But the company has an impressive momentum behind it. Mutiny’s customers include Dropbox, Snowflake, Qualtrics and Carta, and Rezaei says around 50 million people across more than 3 million businesses have seen a website customized by the platform’s AI engine. Revenue is on track to quadruple in fiscal quarter 2022.
Rezaei believes lack of marketing skills will be one of the drivers of future growth. That remains to be seen – a 2021 Clevertouch Marketing survey found that 72% of companies consider marketing talent more critical than technology. But Rezaei argues that few companies, especially in the startup space, have the skill to convert expenses into revenue.
“The pandemic has forced most online shopping and shopping for all types of businesses. This is compounded by the funding market where companies are raising mega-towers, the majority of which are targeted for rapid growth,” “As a result, we see online customer acquisition becoming a board-level concern, even for B2B companies with large sales teams. Most businesses can hire the talent and access the technology needed to advertise, distribute content and raise awareness online… [But] companies [don’t] master effective online spending.
Another burden for Mutiny will be convincing potential customers that its platform can overcome the common limitations of personalization engines. Like Paul Roetzer writing for Marketing AI Institute, AI without rich datasets can quickly fall below accuracy benchmarks, especially when leaders have unrealistic expectations.
“We’ve invested heavily in our AI engine since our Series A,” Rezaei said. “The result is a fully guided experience that empowers marketers to generate revenue faster based on what works for their different buyer segments.”
Sequoia Capital, Cowboy Ventures and Uncork Capital also invested in Mutiny’s Series B, joined by executives from Uber, Visa, Salesforce, Square, Figma, Condé Nast, Carta, Snowflake and Atlassian. The company, whose total capital raised is $72 million, plans to more than double the size of its team of 40 people by 2023 while “investing[ing] strongly” in its AI technology.