Perq LLC, an Indianapolis marketing technology and advertising company, announced Friday that it raised $1.7 million in venture capital, and it plans to use it to fuel a year-old software product that's become the company's flagship offering.
Founded in 2001, Perq had never raised outside financing before, but it could hardly resist doing so to accelerate the growth of its already fast-growing software-as-a-service product, Fatwin Web Engagement.
The software helps retailers such as car dealerships transform their websites from brochures into "digital sales people," CEO Andy Medley said, and it reached sales of $1 million this spring after launching in summer 2015.
"Every dollar that we have as far as our growth is concerned is around Fatwin," Medley said. "Now we certainly still have the advertising services supporting that growth ... but our focus is on this technology because of the opportunities we see in the market."
4G Ventures, the venture capital firm led by tech veteran Bill Godfrey, made the investment, and the capital will almost entirely go toward sales and marketing. Medley said while most startups have to devote chunks of venture capital toward building software, Perq was able to build Fatwin and attract 200 customers before raising any money.
The company employs 92 people at its headquarters near 71st Street and Georgetown Road, and it plans to add 30 by the end of 2017. At that point, it may have to start thinking about expanding its office space, Medley said.
Medley said Fatwin helps clients engage with customers with calls to actions and unique journeys. In practice, that experience includes prompts, like "Which mattress is right for me?" on a furniture site or "What's my trade-in worth?" on an automotive site, followed by a series of questions based on responses.
These and other "dynamic learning" features are common on e-commerce sites like Amazon.com, but Perq is looking to bring them to other industries.
"It's a consumer engagement tool, and it basically increases the ability for consumers to engage with the brands at the point when they want to learn more," Medley said. "We're focusing on markets where there's a hole in those tools."