Campus and Community

Starkdata: the startup that helps companies efficiently manage their customers

The company was created by two Técnico alumni and helps companies efficiently manage their customers.

The Técnico alumni João Ramos and Miguel Reis created Starkdata, a startup that helps companies efficiently manage their customers through Data Science and Machine Learning. Starkdata’s product allows companies to manage efficiently and strategically the three phases of their customer’s life cycle: (1) customer acquisition (2) revenue maximization through cross and up-sell (3) customer retention.

According to João Ramos, whose master thesis involved using machine learning in Portuguese online banking, “I began to realise that this sector faces a great challenge, namely in terms of consumer behaviours”. “Companies must be able to place the right products near customers who are more likely to buy them, but they must also be aware of customers who may leave for competitors”, adds the alumnus.

The team decided to test their idea before lauching the startup. They participated in “DisrUPtion” – the acceleration programme powered by Grupo Nabeiro, where they competed against 115 startups, half of them created abroad. “We were selected in the first batch of 30 startups, which allowed us to pitch our solution to a jury composed mainly of Nabeiro Group Board members. We received very important feedback that helped us to further improve our product”, recalls the alumnus. The success of the pitch led the team to the finals. After 2 months of intense collaboration with Grupo Nabeiro, the team was notified that they had won the challenge.

Starkdata conducts the entire Predictive Analytics process, ranging from selection and standardization of data and data collection, to the creation of Machine Learning models and analytical dashboards. “Most of the data that is collected is time series data, since we analyse behavioural patterns that are revealed over time, which are based in the interactions between customers and companies. The state-of-the art models for working with this type of data are neural networks, more specifically a type of network called LSTM – Long Short-Term Memory ”, explains the Técnico alumnus.

According to João Ramos, what distinguishes Starkdata from other startups is “the way we manage the company-customer relationship and customer segmentation. We use the result of behavioural segmentation to improve customer retention analysis”. “The problem of maximizing customer value throughout life cycle is divided into several stages. Solving this problem individually is more difficult and less profitable than if we address it collectively”, points out the Técnico alumnus.

Currently, Starkdata’s biggest customer is Grupo Nabeiro. “We are preparing pilot projects in the financial sector, but the focus to achieve excellence in execution is fundamental for us, so we don’t want to spread ourselves”, says the alumnus. The team of young entrepreneurs – composed of masters and masters students in Computer Science and Engineering, Finance and Biotechnology at Universidade Nova and Técnico – expects to substantially expand the team by the end of the year, in order to ensure their presence both in retail and financial sector. “Our product covers several industries because most companies need to know their customers better”, points out João Ramos, who also highlights that some Starkdata’s products target specific industries.

In the short and medium term, Starkdata intends to further analyse all types of customer data. “We want, for example, to provide Sentiment Analysis, which will allow companies to better measure their customers’ satisfaction, based on the contacts they receive”, adds João Ramos. Aware that they still have a long way to go, and that “the next 3 years will be decisive for the sucess of Starkdata”, the startup wants to expand to international markets. “We want to position ourselves in the market as a top company offering Customer Analytics (predictive analytics and customer lifetime value)”, shares the alumnus. “And, above all, we want to become the company where people want to work, promoting a culture of cooperation, participation, rigour and excellence. It is one of the most important things nowadays to catch and keep top talent”, he says. “Our team’s talent is our greatest value, as well as the challenges of our customers and the enormous satisfaction in creating something new and innovative”, adds João Ramos.