Auckland startup PredictHQ has raised US$10 million ($13.8 million, NZ$14.8 million) in a Series A round led by US firm Aspect Ventures, with participation from Lightspeed and existing backers Rampersand and Addventure Fund.
A data intelligence company helping clients understand the impact that different events will have on demand, PredictHQ was cofounded by Campbell Brown, Robert Kern, and Mike Ballantyne.
The trio had previously worked together at Online Republic, a platform facilitating cruise, car rental, and motorhome travel bookings acquired by WebJet in 2016. The idea for PredictHQ coming from their experience here, where they often dealt with ups and downs in demand for vehicles based on various events.
“Every day there would be significant spikes and drop-offs, in locations all over the world. But we could only work out why demand had fluctuated a few weeks after it had happened, when we could trace back the catalysts,” Brown explained.
For example, Brown said, the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology brings 25,000 healthcare professionals to San Diego. One year, the meeting occurred around the same time as a Fleetwood Mac concert and an expo, each bringing in more than 5,000 attendees – attendees at each event needed similar travel bookings at the same time, creating significant demand.
“Retrospective insight is useful, but accurate predictions are even better. We thought to ourselves, ‘there’s got to be a better way of understanding what creates these anomalies in advance,’” Brown said.
“Until now, there has been no central repository of real-world event data, let alone any intelligence built on that data to make it accessible and actionable. By understanding the impact of events, PredictHQ helps business respond to customer demand and unlock instant profits that are hidden in plain sight.”
With work beginning on PredictHQ’s API three years ago, its clients include the likes of Uber, Booking.com, and Domino’s. Domino’s, for example, can use PredictHQ to staff delivery drivers and adjust how many pizza ingredients to stock at particular locations, while Booking.com can use PredictHQ to optimise pricing.
The funding will go towards quickly scaling the PredictHQ team and building out the product roadmap.
As part of the funding, Aspect Ventures cofounder Theresia Gouw will join the startup’s board of directors, while Lightspeed partner Arif Janmohamed will join as a board observer.
Meanwhile, QBE Ventures, the venture arm of QBE Insurance, has participated in a US$5 million ($6.9 million) seed round for US cybersecurity startup Zeguro.
As well as providing cybersecurity insurance, Zeguro’s platform helps businesses automate their cybersecurity processes through continuous monitoring, employee training, and assistance with compliance.
QBE stated it will be working with the Zeguro team on an initial rollout of the platform across North America, and creating an insurance product designed for small to medium enterprises.
David McMillan, QBE Group chief operations officer, said many small and medium businesses lack the resources to invest in high levels of IT security or risk management, which in turn leaves them exposed.
“Zeguro allows our SME customers to take control and oversight of their cyber exposure through an easy to use interface that automates cybersecurity processes and provides ongoing recommendations to reduce their overall cyber risk,” he said.
Image: the PredictHQ team. Source: Supplied.