Nola, a computer vision startup that helps businesses estimate where people will be and when, alongside helping customers find the shortest queues at events, has raised $200,000 from VC and accelerator program Skalata Ventures.
Cofounder Victoria Zorin came up with the idea three years ago as her frustration grew while stuck in queues at a music festival, wanting a solution to avoid them
Taking a deep dive into visitor analytics, she realised there was a gap in solutions that could offer both rich data and privacy.
Nola is an “anonymous-by-design” SaaS platform that analyses live video feeds or historical footage to provide insights on visitor count, marketing engagement and queues and wait times. It can be used to measure and optimise visitor experience across retail, hospitality and entertainment venues.
Zorin said that with no installation needed, Nola makes it easy for venues and retailers to gain historical and real time insights on key operational tasks.
“This removes the guesswork from tasks like wayfinding, staff rostering and measuring marketing effectiveness,” she said.
“With ever-increasing backlash against global surveillance, Nola provides a cost effective, ethical visitor analytics platform for companies that value the privacy of their customers.”
The anonymous-by-design aspect avoids the pitfalls of bluetooth, wifi and facial recognition cameras, Zorin adds.
“This means Nola doesn’t track or store any form of unique identification, managing risk for the organisation and protecting customers,” she said.
“Without any concerns over privacy, clients can focus on Nola’s high customisability and rich data. The platform can be set up to provide alerts for relevant metrics, such as notifying staff when queues are too long.”
Last year, Nola partnered with NSW music festival Yours & Owls, where they used temporary cameras to monitor queue length, speed and wait times.
“The client had real-time data and a live traffic map available via an app, allowing the event organisers to move staff reactively around the venue and better manage customer flow,” Zorin said.
Looking ahead, she said Nola gets smarter by training itself on data feeds, and the result is increased accuracy, insights, and automation, and she sees its predictive capabilities as the future.
“Nola will soon be able to tell you how many customers will visit your store next week, and even integrate external data like weather and public holidays to predict behaviour and help businesses plan for spikes or low traffic days,” she said.
Skalata Investment Manager Tom Smalley appreciates that Nola is a true answer-to-the-problem product that’s not easy to imitate.
“It’s like Google Analytics for the physical realm. Ecommerce has the advantage of being able to track shoppers’ every move,” he said
“With hospitality one of the hardest-hit industries during the pandemic, and Australia now back open for business, Nola offers a huge opportunity to IRL businesses.”