Toronto-based Rubikloud has raised a $46 million CAD Series B led by Intel Capital.
Existing investors Horizons Ventures and Access Industries also participated in the round, and Canadian investors iNovia Capital and OTEAF are joining as new investors. Rubikloud plans to use the funding to expand its offices into Europe and Asia as it looks to tackle the global retail market. The company is also focused on execution over the next nine to 12 months; CEO Kerry Liu says that right now, they have more customers than they can deploy, so the expansion will ensure they can keep up with the volume.
Rubikloud’s platform migrates data from retailers’ old legacy infrastructure onto the cloud, and allows them to automate decision-making on promotions across stores, loyalty marketing, and mass promotional planning. According to Liu, the retail groups that the company works with can have hundreds of promotions going at once at thousands of stores across the country, with different rules for each promotion.
But he’s clear that this is not a case of machines replacing humans; this allows buyers to do their job better; over the past few years, they’ve been forced to do manual entry financial analysis that takes away from the job they were hired to do. Users of Rubikloud can also override the platform’s decisions anytime, and the machine learns from that decision and evaluates which was the right decision.
“That’s not a human problem, that’s a machine problem. So now, our systems take those kinds of problems from retailers and we automate them. We automate the computing, decision-making, and execution of that so that all person is supposed to do is do their job, which is negotiating a better discount from vendors go to the store and trade shows and find new products,” Liu said.
Rubikoud has been bullish in its mission to tackle enterprise SaaS versus building a low-point solution for retailers, which Liu says makes it easy to lose customers. He says the former is also an area that Canada can lead thanks to a legacy of companies like Nortel, BlackBerry, OpenText, and D2L leading the way.
“I don’t think we’re going be the place where the next Facebook comes. We’ve never had a Facebook in Canada; we’ve never had a pure-play consumer rocketship. Shopify is still a B2B business. But enterprise software, we’ve had two dozen just in Ontario alone in the last 10 years. So let’s talk about what we’re good at here,” Liu said.
In early 2017, the company announced a partnership with A.S. Watson Group, Asia and Europe’s largest international health and beauty retailer, to deploy its solution across its network of 13,300 retail stores. With an investment from Intel, Rubikloud is hoping to leverage the tech giant’s push to bring in-sensors and partners in the ecosystem to get a better understanding of what’s happening within the store itself in real-time.
“The first three levels of retail that AI will impact and transform will be the supply chain, corporate head office, and front of store,” said Stacey Shulman, chief innovation officer in the Retail Solutions Division at Intel Corporation. “Combining Intel’s focus on retail, IoT and in-store devices with Rubikloud’s intelligent decision automation will further position the two companies to continue as retail AI leaders.”