AnyRoad, a so-called “experience relationship management” (ERM) platform that enables brands to capture customer data and manage live experiences, has raised $47 million in a series B round of funding.
Founded in 2014, AnyRoad works with major brands such as Diageo, Honda and Ben & Jerry’s to help them track just about every touchpoint they have with current and would-be customers in a live setting — that could be anything from managing the ticketing and booking experience for a museum tour, to handling on-site registrations, payments and garnering feedback.
“Brands spend billions each year on live experiences, consumer services, and events,” AnyRoad cofounder and CEO Jonathan Yaffe told VentureBeat. “Intuitively, they believe that these experiential endeavors lead to increased loyalty and revenue growth, but they generally have no real data, no attribution, and no centralized first-party data strategy. Compare this to what brands spend on digital advertising, for example, where they can precisely understand how much impact each dollar of spend drives for the business.”
And so AnyRoad essentially promises the “rigor of digital marketing measurement” for real-life experiences, according to Yaffe.
That all said, while AnyRoad historically was concerned purely with live experiences, the San Francisco-based company had to extend support to online and hybrid events due to the global pandemic. But regardless of how a brand ultimately chooses to engage with their (potential) customers, AnyRoad is betting that a broader shift to “experiences” — online or offline — over owning “things,” will see it prosper in the long run.
“We are living in an era in which a majority of consumers prefer to spend their money on experiences versus things — car-ownership is declining, retail brands are shutting down weekly, ‘things” have become commoditized,” Yaffe said. “The top brands in the world know that their future depends on creating impactful experiences, but understanding customers requires more than just transactional surveys and loyalty programs.”
Big data insights
Connecting AnyRoad’s various offline and online data-capturing strands is Atlas, a data and analytics platform that brands use to quantify the impact of their events on brand perception; establish trends based on demographics; benchmark against competitors; and apply natural language processing (NLP) to derive positive and negative sentiments from customer feedback.
Feeding into this, AnyRoad offers various enterprise integrations out-the-box, spanning CRMs, marketing, POS, and even data & infrastructure platforms such as Twilio, Snowflake, and Tableau. This means that AnyRoad supports analytics beyond purely experiential data, helping companies to understand broader trends and patterns by meshing data sets.
“Through integrations, our customers can understand customer journeys, build more customer empathy, and inform better decision-making,” Yaffe said. “The most powerful use case to connect to data beyond experiential, in systems like Snowflake and Tableau, is understanding the impact of experiences on consumer behavior, such as purchase, loyalty and lifetime value. For example, one of our retail customers has been able to demonstrate the impact of in-store experiences on spend within their stores, using an integration with their data warehouse.”
The story so far
The term “ERM” might not be familiar to everyone, and that’s because it’s a relatively new concept devised by Yaffe in conjunction with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who invested in AnyRoad’s seed funding round five years ago. In fact, AnyRoad has previously been described as something like a CRM for the real world, which is somewhat fitting given Benioff’s involvement.
In truth, ERM intersects with experience management platforms such as Qualtrics and Medallia, but AnyRoad pitches itself as a “full-stack” ERM that spans multiple software categories from ticketing to customer data management.
“Companies use AnyRoad to positively change consumer behavior through experiences, enabling brands to operationally run experiences, understand impact at scale and build more long-term loyalty, and increase revenue,” Yaffe explained.
Prior to now, AnyRoad had raised around $19 million, and with another $47 million in the bank, the company said that it plans to use its fresh cash bounty to bolster product development, develop new integrations, and hire talent across data science, engineering and machine learning.
AnyRoad’s series B round was led by “funds and accounts” managed by BlackRock, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, Runa Capital, Day One Ventures, Rally Ventures, Kaiser Permanente, Precursor Ventures, Commonfund and Corner Ventures.