OneView Group PLC (LON:ONEV) Chief Operating Officer Linda Palanza caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss the background to the company, their technology in the retail space, why big companies are buying their software, their recent fundraise and an extensive & growing pipeline of new business
Q1: Now Linda, first off, can you give us some background on OneView Group, what do your software solutions do?
A1: Our primary technology is all about the tools to run a retail store. So, it’s everything from the tills to the cash management to being able to run those tills so it’s really modernising the retail store and what’s most important is that our shoppers today want to be highly connected to their mobile devices, to the online store. What we do is bring that connectivity from the cloud into the store so that retailers are far more connected to the customers as they go through their journey of doing research online and then coming into the store and wanting to understand who that customer is and to be able to better service them.
Q2: So, would you describe your product as disruptive technology within the retail space?
A2: I think that’s a popular term but I absolutely think that is the case and why do we say that? Well, most importantly is the customers that we brought to market so our customers are the likes of Wickes in the UK, Molten Brown in the UK and Discount Tire, $4.5 billion, the largest tyre in wheel retailer in the world. So, these are customers to us who have gone out to market and looked at what’s available for them, for their new store technology and didn’t see anything in these legacy vendors that are out there.
What OneView did is we came into the market 3.5 years ago with a vision that the store needed to really change their technology in order to better service its customer and this is that customer that’s coming in with their mobile devices, comparing your website to you store and now having a lot of questions about why they’re different. So, that was really where we were at, we had a vision on how to do that, we had a company with a lot of experience in software to be able to bring this solution to market and that’s really what we’ve done. The likes of Discount Tire is going to be going live in the fall, you’re going to see a store that’s going to make the Apple store look like a dinosaur, it is just a complete digitisation of the store.
Q3: You’re still a relatively new company yet a number of very large recognised retailers have recently contracted with you, why do you think these big companies are buying your software?
A3: I truly think that the companies that have come on board, companies that have capital to invest and have a vision that they have firmly bought into, that if you don’t change your retail model you will not be around. So, I think we’ve seen that, we’ve seen it on the high street in the UK as well as here in North America that the retailers that aren’t making these kind of technology changes are struggling, if not closing stores and going away all together. So, what we found was that the retailers that really joined up with us and partnered with us, these are not just customers these are partners, they got that and they know they needed to really embrace technology in order to reinvent the store. That is the main reason why these customers came on board and are really truly fantastic partners.
Q4: Are your customer typically looking fat your new cloud solution?
A4: Yes, so 90% of OneGroup’s clients are hosted with our solution now and we only offer cloud-hosted or SaaS to our customers going forward, the only difference between cloud-hosted and SaaS is that the larger customers want their own instance where the SaaS customers can share an instance but have their own database. This provides them with a tremendous amount of cost savings especially in terms of their own internal people management, now their project teams can focus on what the business needs to drive more revenue or to drive better customer service and not get bogged down with the technology of the implementation. So, we’re very pleased and have seen a real jump this year, we’re going into this year with already over $3 million of recurring revenue, which is very impressive for a company that’s just been marketing their solution for just 3.5 years, and now we only offer cloud solution to the market.
Q5: You’ve announced a substantial $4 million fundraiser in the last few days, can you talk me through what the funds will be used for?
A5: Absolutely, so the fundraiser’s actually $5 million and the primary focus of the fundraise is to build out our sales and marketing, we feel strongly that after the investments we’ve made over this 3.5 years with our bid partner customers, our product now is ready for the general market. So, we’ll be building out more sales presence in the UK and the US and building out our partner channel to better support our global partners, we have over 25 partners now globally who refer us into opportunities and assist us in our implementations.
Secondly, we will continue to invest in the product itself, we are ahead of the market and we need to stay ahead of the market and there’s still a lot to do in terms of embracing technology within the retail space.
Q6: You also talk in your results announcement about an extensive and growing pipeline of new business for OneView Group, can you give us an indication of the size of the pipeline?
A6: Yes, so the pipeline right now stands at well north of $25 million. When I define the pipeline, I guess I could say is that means that these are customers that are engaging with us, have a RFI out in the market which is a Request for Information, which generally turns into an RFP which is a Request for Price which then goes into a shortlist software selection process and then ultimately, you’re selected.
So, about 30% of our pipeline is made up of RFI’s and RFP’s with decisions in about 6 months, there’s another 30% who are in the process of releasing RFI’s or FPI’s and then the final 30% are those same partners that we’ve talked about, these larger organisations who are architecting their stores of the future. They’re working very close with us on what we’ve already done with our customers and these are quite exciting opportunities because we come in quite early and although they’re long sales cycles, we have a very good close rate with those types of retailers because we’re engaged with them so early in the process.