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American Express invests in Bangalore-based start-up Capillary Technologies

American Express Ventures, the corporate venture arm of American Express Co, is making a strategic investment of around $4.5 million in Bangalore-based start-up Capillary Technologies.

American Express Ventures, the corporate venture arm of American Express Co, is making a strategic investment of around $4.5 million in Bangalore-based start-up Capillary Technologies. It is said to be the US financial services corporation's first investment in an Indian firm.


The partnership will also involve a joint marketing agreement under which American Express will introduce Capillary's customer engagement solutions to select medium-sized retail merchants in the US.


"Capillary has done a great job of creating a platform that helps retailers to capture and analyse data and then use insights to engage with shoppers across every sales and marketing channel," said Harshul Sanghi, head of American Express Ventures. "We're excited to see how the Capillary team will bring value to merchants and consumers around the world."


Capillary's solutions allow retailers to collect data about customers from a variety of sources, analyse this data and then make real-time personalized offerings, with a view to increasing shopper loyalty and fueling online and physical store sales.


The startup was founded in 2008 by Aneesh Reddy and Krishna Mehra, both of who passed out of IIT, Kharagpur, two years prior to that. Today, they are present in 16 countries, across 10,000 stores serving 100 million end customers.


"Many retailers are looking for ways to help them strengthen engagement and loyalty with their customers," said Luke Gebb, senior VP of merchant services in the $34-billion American Express.


Reddy said Capillary and American Express had conducted a pilot programme in Singapore in which American Express introduced Capillary's cloud-based platform to select mid-sized retail merchants. "That proved a success. AmEx has presence in over 50 countries and they own the relations with their merchants (unlike Visa and Mastercard who work through banks). So we get access to a huge merchant base," he said. Since it's a cloud based solution, retailers do not have to make any major upfront capital expenditure; they just pay a monthly fee.


He added further that this is just a 'strategic investment' and the company would look at a much bigger round of funding by the end of 2014 or early 2015 from its existing and new investors. In a Series A funding, Capillary had raised $15.5 million in 2012.

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