July 7, 2011
AUSTIN, TX – July 7, 2011 – BlackLocus, the leading cloud provider of automated pricing optimization and revenue management solutions for online retailers, today announced it has raised a $2.5 million Series A round of venture capital financing. The round was co-led by Texas-based DFJ Mercury and Silverton Partners. The investment follows Black Locus’ winning of the DFJ Mercury Prize at the 2011 Rice University Business Plan Competition.
Based on innovative research developed at Carnegie Mellon University, BlackLocus deploys advanced machine learning and revenue management techniques in an automated cloud-based service, enabling small and mid-sized online retailers to take advantage of techniques employed by the most sophisticated players in the industry at a fraction of the cost and complexity. BlackLocus provides actionable recommendations on competitive pricing and positioning, delivering a more than 15% increase in revenues for the company’s customers.
“The rapid growth of online commerce has created terrific opportunities for both large and small online retailers,” said Blair Garrou, Managing Director of DFJ Mercury. “Our firm was impressed with the BlackLocus team and believe their cloud-based pricing optimization tools level the playing field for small and mid-sized online retailers.”
Since its product launch in January 2011, BlackLocus has surpassed sales projections while adding important new features and scalability to their platform. Working closely with industry experts and human-computer interaction researchers, BlackLocus has created an intuitive platform focused on solving tough problems for online retailers.
“Consumers are more sophisticated and pricing is more transparent than ever before – especially online,” said Morgan Flager, Partner at Silverton Partners. “BlackLocus helps retailers to succeed in this environment by allowing them to rapidly respond to their competitive environment and better understand how pricing effects conversion.”
BlackLocus was founded in 2010 by Rodrigo Carvalho, Lukas Bouvrie and Francisco Uribe, while completing business and computer science graduate degrees at Carnegie Mellon University (“CMU”). Throughout graduate school, BlackLocus worked with a variety of CMU and Pittsburgh-based groups aimed at supporting start-ups and entrepreneurs, including Innovation Work’s AlphaLab accelerator, Idea Foundry, CMU’s Project Olympus and CMU’s Don Jones Center for Entrepreneurship business accelerator.
“Working with these groups enabled us to create an exciting business with minimal resources” said Rodrigo Carvalho, co-founder and CEO of Black Locus. “We are now looking forward to our next release. We have been working closely with our customers and partners to develop a new layer of cutting-edge functionalities that will empower online retailers with our pricing-as-a-service platform.”
BlackLocus offers powerful and affordable eCommerce Competitive Pricing Analysis to customers ranging from small businesses to those on the Internet Retailer 500 through an intuitive, cloud-based platform that delivers actionable recommendations on competitive pricing and positioning. Powered by collaboration with industry experts and human-computer interaction researchers, BlackLocus deploys sophisticated machine learning and revenue management techniques in a pricing-as-a-service model, enabling small and mid-sized online retailers to compete with larger and/or more established players. BlackLocus is headquartered in Austin, TX with offices in Pittsburgh, PA. For more information, please visit www.blacklocus.com.
DFJ Mercury is a seed and early-stage venture capital firm focusing on investment opportunities in the midcontinent. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, DFJ Mercury invests in compelling and novel start-up opportunities in information technology, advanced materials and bioscience. With over $100 million under management, DFJ Mercury seeks to partner with extraordinary entrepreneurs to build globally competitive businesses. Our team has broad experience and relationships with tech transfer offices and regional technology incubators. DFJ Mercury is a Partner Fund in the DFJ Global Network of venture capital firms. For more information, please visit www.dfjmercury.com.
Silverton Partners is an early stage venture capital firm based in Austin, Texas. Silverton collaborates with exceptional entrepreneurs who are committed to attacking growth markets with cutting-edge products or services. The principals of Silverton Partners have over three decades of venture experience, having been the start-up investors in market-leading companies such as Motive Communications, Silicon Labs , SMART Technologies, Tivoli Systems, and Waveset. For more information, please visit www.silvertonpartners.com.