Russ: Hi I’m Russ Capper and this is BusinessMakers USA brought to you by Insperity, inspiring business performance. Checking in today from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the Hudson Business lounge + Café, where I’m very pleased to have with me the founders, the co-founders of Buzzi.io, Manoj Nair and Robert Bardunias. Guys, welcome to the show.
Robert: Thank you very much for having us.
Russ: You bet. Tell us about Buzzi.io.
Robert: Well, BUZZI was really designed off of the precept of, data for the longest time has been a product. It’s been a product of multiple services and SaaS companies, and really collection of these data sources. It’s been the product of all of your business. But now, given really the proliferation of data collection, and data management, and really the reduction of cost, it’s now become capital, capital to build businesses on top of additional revenue streams, additional business units. The whole idea is, take all of these different data sets that you’ve had sitting dormant and use BUZZI as a data exchange platform to connect all of them together in a real time methodology to start driving revenue.
Russ: Ok wow. So we have the Chief Strategy Officer and the Chief Marketing Officer. Do you agree with that description?
Manoj: Absolutely. What the world was missing so far was a data exchange platform. World had integration platforms forever, world never had a data exchange platform. That’s what we want to deliver to the community.
Russ: And isn’t it true that, I mean, just the quantity of data has just been increasing more than exponentially for quite some time?
Robert: Yeah, a lot of businesses have been storing data for this mythical, rainy day that’s going to come along, but not really using it. So, you have companies that have invested in storing these disparate data sets that they need to find a way to start using, and start using in a very real way. And that’s what we’re helping our companies really drive, is value from those data sets.
Russ: Ok, you know what I think of when you describe that is that, you know, even these loyalty programs that so many retail outlets have now where you’re always putting in your phone number or something, you always seem to do it and it never seems like they’ve gotten to that point where any of them were really effectively using it.
Manoj: Absolutely not. So, that’s why if you go to our website, what you will see is, increase your productivity. How we can really, you know, multiply the data. You have one data coming from one source and how can you multiply that data into multiple uses and really take advantage of what Robert was talking about.
Robert: And the interesting thing is a lot of these data sets, people will hire data scientists or data consultants to figure out what to do with the data, but if you can’t access it, what good is brainstorming what to do with the data when data accessibility, and really, data transparency across multiple platforms is step one? And that’s what we’re providing to the marketplace.
Russ: Ok, but back in the beginning when companies started collecting it all the time, everybody had this attitude that it was going to be valuable and they were kind of dreaming of applications, but when the real world evolved, it was bigger and more expensive to handle, right?
Russ: And so, I mean, it’s hugely expensive. I mean, it’s almost like it requires new systems to come in and utilize, right?
Manoj: Yeah, so the latest study by MIT, what it states is that, there is the big problem, and the current infrastructure is not good enough to handle the amount of data going through. You need to have a different infrastructure that breaks up these bottlenecks. This, with the advent of cloud, and how we are transporting the data, that barrier can be broken in the next few months if people work with us.
Robert: And we’re very lucky in the market that we have right now, and really, the industry that we’re in right now because the incentive is for these different silos to really focus on their core competency. So, you’ll have your point of purchase data in one area, you’ll have your CRM in another data, you’ll have inventory control in another data platform. What’s missing is the ability to take those data sets and unify them through a platform that now you can overlap point of purchase in a certain region or during a certain product base, with a certain customer set, and tracking what inventory you have available in those regions. With BUZZI, you have the ability to unify all of those data sets at a very cost effective methodology. We’re a pure SAAS company, so it’s all about volume and transaction.
Russ: Ok, so you are a software, I was getting ready, when you said infrastructure I was going, wait a minute, are we talking about some huge, big mainframe? But we’re just talking about software. Wow, wow. Ok, so that’s interesting. What’s the status of the company today?
Manoj: We are 11 months old. We are in the process of raising money to really take this to that next level. We have already accrued 15-20 customers working with us already. And we are actually reaping the benefits for them by providing them a cost effective, easy, way to connect their disconnected systems and make them all productive.
Russ: Do you have, you know, any sort of case study where your method compares to, I mean, I guess before your SaaS method the only way they could do it is do it internally and write code. Is there any way to even compare?
Manoj: I had an opportunity to talk to one of the biggest banks in the United States. We were talking about, we were exchanging ideas about how they do their exchange of data. What they told me was that they have twenty-eight hundred databases in their company. Every time they wanted to exchange the data they have to go ahead and buy a connector, or buy a company who provides this exchange of data, and they spend 28 million dollars a year on this data exchange. Then, they realized that exchanging this data in a secular format is very difficult with the products that they were using because they don’t have the tokenized data exchange capacity. When we talked to them, that is what we can offer to them. They don’t have to have listeners for each of those things since we are on the, since we have a SaaS platform. They can basically subscribe for our events rather than having a listener for that particular database. They can subscribe for the event and they connect and they can disconnect as they wish.
Robert: It’s really a build vs. buy mentality these days. Where you can invest in your own infrastructure to build a connection to dataset A and dataset B, or you can really look at the methodology, the exchange methodology of using pre-established infrastructure to connect through the platform to get A and B to converse. And while you’re doing that you can connect C, D and E, as opposed to building direct lines to each one. That’s the complexity right now is really simplifying the workflow.
Russ: It almost seems like, you know, from a macro perspective, that you’re kind of talking about these huge worlds of big data and even maybe artificial intelligence playing a role too. Is that accurate at all?
Manoj: Absolutely. Today, the data, again as Robert was talking about, data is an asset. Data needs to be utilized some way or the other. If you look at anything, if you look at machinery, nowadays this machine produces data and how we use it. So, I was talking to NASCAR guys when were designing this system I was talking to the NASCAR guys. They have all these measurements, even in their diaper they have measurements of how much urine these guys are producing while they’re driving so that they can develop a diaper that can afford that type of situation. So, they send out data, and they are capturing this data and they don’t know what they want, how they want to transport that data with urgency, as he was talking about. The perishability part of it. How can we transport that data and get that data being utilized by anybody and everybody in order to double up the product or increase the productivity of the product or things of that nature.
Robert: Yeah, but I think you made a good point with AI. I think artificial intelligence has become, it’s getting more commoditized and it’s an input/output based, you know, industry where the more data you can push into these AI platforms the more valuable they can be. And as everyone seems to be finding their own kind of preferred AI platform, you have the ability to say, guess what? We can open up more data sets to your platform, and guess what? You’re not going to have to be married to one AI platform. You’re not going to have to be married to one marketing platform. Your data becomes moveable or transportable to whatever other vendor or whatever other system evolves, and that’s really the growth engine of what BUZZI is doing right now. It just becomes the exchange to make that data available to new and evolving AI systems or machine learning platforms.
Russ: It seems like, though, this might be a challenge, but as an SaaS, you know, platform, every installation must be extremely custom, and so, I mean, it’s hard for me to imagine that somebody just starts connecting dots and it all works, but you have to have a lot of coding upon implementation as well, is that right?
Manoj: Yeah, absolutely. So, one of the things, when we looked at this problem one of the things that we decided was that we wanted to abstract things out. We wanted to have, so we have, BUZZI is a pure data exchange platform. So, when you think about it, it is the UPS of your data. So, UPS abstracts out the fact that who is putting stuff in the packet. What they will do is that if I’m buying a gift for somebody, I will buy a Lego set, I will wrap it up, I will send it to UPS. UPS does care, but it doesn’t care what is inside that thing. UPS take it, put it in your friend’s home. You or UPS doesn’t care what he does with that Lego. He can build a Lego animal, or he can drop that Lego into the garbage, or he can re-gift it, he can do any of those things. That is the concept that we took.
Robert: We also didn’t ignore the fact that, you’re right, the connections to get into some of these platforms, sometimes are really the barrier to entry. So, what we really look to do, and I give Manoj credit for really coining this, and Ian as well, the democratization of connectors. You have the ability to now say, with the BUZZI platform, let’s look in the marketplace, because we have a marketplace as well, of these connectors, and say, what is the best connector that fits the platforms that I’m trying to connect, the workflow that I’m trying to solve. So, it lowers the barrier somewhat considerably as well as our relationships with system integrators. You know, good partners of ours are the other platforms. You know, marketing automation, CRMs, ERPs, point of purchase systems, but also system integrators who have really built their businesses around doing that custom integration of connecting point A to point B.
Russ: Well, it clearly sounds to me like you guys are aimed right at a high potential of marketer, but I’m always curious about this, what triggered the idea to start this endeavor?
Manoj: Absolutely. I’m an ecommerce veteran. I’ve been doing ecommerce from 1999 on. Every time when I talk to an ecommerce organization or an organization wants to do commerce, what they’re saying is that my entry to that market is difficult because I have all these legacy back end systems sitting up there. I don’t know what to do, which data goes, I have a problem. So, if you are going to create an ecommerce, or if you are going to create any customer facing systems, you need to make sure that the system A needs to get talking to system B, that system B needs to be talking to system C. That is the bedrock of what we do. So, that integration. So, I started building integrations between these systems, and one thing I realized, that is the abstraction part. One thing I realized is that, huh, whenever I do this integration, every time the commonality is the fact that I have to exchange data. Why, so, and it takes 45 to 50% of my time to do this exchange of data.
Why don’t I abstract this out and create a platform enabling everybody to exchange this data and be the UPS of the data exchange, and let everybody exchange this data through this platform so they don’t have to worry about it.
Robert: Yeah, and the additional abstraction that, when we came together, the three of us on the idea, was really I came from media technology and media engineering where you have disparate data sets that live, user analytics, consumption analytics, really other data sets around demographics. And everyone talked about being able to connect these systems someday. The goal was, well why don’t we make someday now? Why don’t we find the way to really start connecting some of these systems?
Manoj: There is a lot of applicability. There is a huge market. The recent study finds that there is this intangible asset worth 8 trillion dollars sitting in there.
Russ: The data is worth 8 trillion dollars?
Manoj: Eight trillion dollars, yeah. And that doesn’t include the multiplication factor of that 8 trillion dollars. So, there is a market for this, there is a huge need for this in the future. And one of the key and cool parts is that we were born on SaaS. That was one of the cool things I wanted to tell people, because everybody else had to counterfeit, we are born on SaaS. We built the application on SaaS.
Russ: So you have a big advantage.
Robert: And then the best evolution really comes down to, you know, everyone is looking for additional revenue streams, and right now usage of data is one of those. And with the proliferation of machine learning systems and, really, ways to start manipulating and managing data, you know, the incentive really grew in the marketplace for some of our customers to really support this.
Russ: Well guys, Manoj, Robert, I really appreciate this.
Robert: Russ, thank you so much.
Russ: Good luck. We ought to stay in touch, too.
Russ: All right, and that wraps up my discussion with Robert Bardunias and Manoj Nair with buzzi.io, and this is BusinessMakers USA.
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