Not every CEO gets to say that a meeting in Las Vegas forever changed the course of his business, but that’s exactly what happened to Hal Charnley.
Charnley was in the process of raising the next round of financing for his Boston startup Mobee. But during an industry conference in Las Vegas earlier this year, he met up with a fellow CEO whose business was doing something similar in the retail intelligence space, except instead of focusing on brick-and-mortar retail, it was all online.
From there, a decision was eventually reached: Mobee would merge with Quad Analytix, a company based in San Mateo, Calif., into an entity with a new name, Wiser Solutions. The deal, which has closed and was announced Wednesday, combines Mobee’s crowdsourcing abilities to gather information on brands in brick-and-mortar stores with Quad’s ability to track pricing and other information for brands across hundreds of ecommerce websites.
As of the result of the merger, Charnley will serve as Wiser’s president while Quad CEO and founder Andy Ballard will act as chief executive. Wiser’s headquarters will be in San Mateo.
“What became apparent through conversations with Andy is there’s a much bigger and more compelling opportunity by doing what we were doing here,” Charnley told BostInno in a phone interview. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Charnley said Wiser will be bringing on a private equity firm, which is expected to be announced in this year’s fourth quarter, to fuel future acquisitions in the retail intelligence space as a way to expand Wiser’s product line and geographic reach.
Founded in 2012, Mobee’s retail intelligence platform pays hundreds of thousands of people to use the company’s app as a way to gather information for brands and retailers in brick-and-mortar stores. The company’s customers include GoPro, which used Mobee to discover that poor merchandising displays in stores was resulting in millions of dollars in lost sales.
Quad Analytix, which was founded in 2013, focuses on retail intelligence on the digital side by tracking the data on 100 million unique items across hundreds of websites.
By merging the two companies’ capabilities, Charnley said Wiser has a unique advantage.
“By putting these two things together we completely change the game in that nobody has both the online and in-store data collection capabilities,” he said.
Together, the combined organization employs 130 people, with about 35 of them in Boston. Charnley said his company has been hiring a lot in engineering recently. In addition to Boston and San Mateo, Wiser also has offices in the United Kingdom and Israel.
Mobee has raised about $6.1 million from a long list of investors, including Cambridge venture capital firm Accomplice, Launch Capital and angel investors. Charnley said Mobee had doubled its annual revenue in the last two years.