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September 16, 2021

Positively Pixis

Positively Pixis

Pixis is a tech startup that provides "AI Infrastructure for Marketing." The Pixis ecosystem of products empowers brands to grow rapidly by leveraging artificial intelligence that makes marketing data-backed, intelligent, agile, and scalable. Here's why we invested in this exciting company.

Pixis is a tech startup that provides "AI Infrastructure for Marketing." The Pixis ecosystem of products empowers brands to grow rapidly by leveraging artificial intelligence that makes marketing data-backed, intelligent, agile, and scalable. Here's why we invested in this exciting company.

Creating compelling content, retaining existing audiences, and reaching new ones over digital media are growing challenges for advertisers. Marketeers contend with, on a daily basis, numerous auctions, real time bidding (RTB), and complex budget allocation strategies for every campaign. Add to this the complexity of targeting and engaging with audiences digitally – what brands know about their customers is insufficient, resulting in suboptimal return on ad spends (RoAS).

A study of Facebook ads showed that ad effectiveness was overestimated by 4,000%. Clickthrough rates (CTR) of major digital ad networks are demonstrative of the problem – Instagram ad CTR in the feed is 0.22%, Google’s CTR across all formats is 0.05% and Facebook’s CTR for lead generation is 0.89%.
In the case of Instagram, this implies that on average for every 1,000 people who see an ad, only two would click it – a poor RoAS by any measure.

Employing the right strategies in terms of targeting and personalization unlocks huge untapped potential for marketeers. They can now target audiences smartly, such as “first-time car owners” or “newlywed millennials,” while personalizing messages and content to suit individual preferences.

Enter Pixis

Pixis is the AI technology toolset for teams to optimize their marketing ROI in a data-backed manner. The platform’s cutting-edge AI infrastructure comprises dozens of contextual artificial intelligence models that are trained with a 360-degree understanding of customers. Companies can leverage Pixis' ecosystem of AI products to connect with their audiences with contextually relevant communication, at scale. The AI infrastructure enables companies to reach the right audiences at the right time with the right message and on the right channels.

Founded by Shubham A. Mishra, Vrushali Prasade and Hari Valiyath (all three are ’94 vintage), and with a 90+ person team that is >80% Zoomers, Pixis is the youngest company we have invested in yet.

Their previous venture was an AI middleware for gaming that cut game design and structure generation down from hours to minutes. Recognizing the potential of this AI to customize as well as resize creatives on the fly (Pixis CoCreate) for digital marketing, they pitched to HDFC Bank and Swiggy, India’s largest online food ordering and delivery platform (both companies are category leaders in digital ad spends). In an environment where attention spans are a few seconds and delays of minutes can impact campaign outcomes, turn-around times of hours for design changes and resizing creatives is unacceptable. While the young startup won the confidence of HDFC, Swiggy, and many others who remain its customers to this day, its technology stack has constantly evolved to include numerous new products and AI plugins.

Vrushali, who is the CTO of Pixis, soon realized that while automating creatives solved the challenges on one end, leveraging this capability remained an unsolved problem – and a large expansion opportunity for the AI startup.

She and her team of zoomineers (zoomer-engineers) built Pixis Performance to enable brands to optimize their marketing ROI by accurately leveraging data. The AI systems are trained with billions of data points by analyzing past performance across multiple platforms. It then employs these learnings to intelligently segment audiences and target them with the right content – while dynamically adapting in real-time to maximize tactics and spends that work and minimize ones that don’t. Customers using Pixis Performance have seen 50% drops in Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), 2X – 4X increases in CTR and 100 – 200% increases in RoAS.

Vrushali and her AI team have learned from the ground up and developed incredible technical depth in the suite of AI models they employ. Spanning contextual and multi-arm bandits for bidding and budget tuning, fastText and BERT for segmentation, semantic similarity algorithms for matching creatives to audiences, and generative adversarial networks for creative automation – Pixis is at the apex of innovation in AI for digital marketing. 60+ category leading enterprise customers in India stand testament.

Pixis is on a mission to become the leading AI infrastructure for marketing teams. They’ve expanded their product suite with Pixis Insights – an end-to-end digital platform for consumer research, and Pixis Social – an optimized Pixis platform for small businesses.

The Marketeer's Compass

The market for Pixis is bolstered by multiple tailwinds. An increase in digital ad spends, estimated to be $645B by 2024, makes available a $50-60B global market for technologies that improve return on ad spends. A global D2C transformation under way is accelerating the need for improved RoAS in digital – the primary customer acquisition channel for D2C companies. As brands rely even more on performance marketing, the need for technology that can drive audience behavior more effectively is amplified. The imperative for marketeers isn’t just technology that fits the definitions. It is the combination of the right technology, a nimble team maniacally focused on expanding its competitive moat, a partner that is as much service-oriented as product-centric and a platform that delivers results in a quickly evolving environment brands rely on but have little control over.

Shubham, Vrushali, and Hari are challenging an industry that has adapted but not yet transformed. We believe that while Pixis opportunity is demonstrably large, its execution is what truly sets it apart. The team is multi-dimensional and constitutes the highest quality of leadership across every pillar of the organization. What excites us most perhaps is this team’s absolute unconstrained approach – no challenge insurmountable, every status quo can be challenged. It is working – a team of 20 somethings is gaining the confidence of seasoned marketing professionals, at leading enterprises, to channel hundreds of millions in ad spends on Pixis – a two-year-old ecosystem of AI products.

We are delighted to partner with Pixis on their next stage of disruption.

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