Q&A: Jaime Sanchez-Laulhe, CEO & Founder, Geoblink
Geoblink, a location intelligence provider, is a Spanish startup that launched three years ago and is now expanding into the UK following some significant successes. RTIH caught up with Jaime Sanchez-Laulhe to talk progress made, ongoing challenges and what lies ahead
RTIH: Tell us about Geoblink
JSL: Our technology uses a combination of public, private and proprietary data sources to help businesses to better understand locations and investigate potential new sites. We enable customers, including the likes of KFC, Danone, Autoglass and Anytime Fitness, to visually drill down via unique map-centric views, closely examining footfall to gain insight into their site catchment areas.
By doing this customers are able to measure the impact of external factors, avoid cannibalisation between current and future points of sale and analyse customer trends and behaviours – e.g. find out what makes a store perform well and be able to replicate that across the country. We target the retail, FMCG and real estate markets first and foremost – at the moment across France, Spain and the UK.
RTIH: What was the inspiration behind setting the company up?
JSL: I was working at McKinsey & Co. helping retailers with their expansion strategies and I recognised the need to accelerate the process through technology and increase the profitability of the business. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and, convinced about the opportunity, I pushed forwards.
After numerous rounds of testing, I convinced Inaki Berenguer (founder of startups Pixable, Klink and CoverWallet), McKinsey partners, as well as family and friends to join in the adventure and invest to get us started. A little further down the line we secured funding from Nauta Capital.
RTIH: What has been the industry reaction thus far?
JSL: Terrific! From an industry perspective we’ve been extremely well received. Last year, Bloomberg cited us as ‘one of the promising startups in the world’ and we were recognised with the ‘Best B2B Startup’ award at the South Summit.
We’ve attracted a lot of great feedback too from prospects and customers who have been crying out for technology to help them make great decisions based on solid and easy-to-understand data. This is demonstrated in our very low churn rate and the comments we’ve received – where our technology has changed the paradigm of their internal strategies.
RTIH: What has been your biggest challenge/setback?
JSL: Meeting all of the requests for our technology is an ongoing challenge. We’re receiving enquiries daily from across the globe but right now our product is only available in the UK, France and Spain. For now we’ll keep the focus on these territories but expand cautiously (based on solid data) over the next few years.
RTIH: What are the biggest challenges facing the omnichannel retail sector right now?
JSL: With the competitive environment that retailers are facing right now, fighting for the best site is a challenge. Retailers are always looking for new customers so it’s really important to understand where they can come from – in terms of where they live, where they buy, and where they work. By closely examining location intelligence, we can help them establish passing trade in terms of gender, age, disposable income and a whole host of other factors.
Tuning into what’s around them can support retailers to better understand and meet these needs. Likewise, they’re able to predict if a location is going to work for them or not too – and whether they can adjust to meet those local needs, or seek out a new site that better reflects their target demographic and footfall requirements.
RTIH: What's the best question about your company or the market asked of you recently by a.) an investor and b.) a customer?
JSL: An investor asked us about whether our data would be compliant with the GDPR and privacy policies – an important question no doubt. We were able to reassure them that all of our data is anonymised, is secure and has been validated by a data councillor.
From a customer angle, we were recently asked how do we get such granular data? It’s a good question and we were able to show how we work with local and international partners (data providers) to have accurate data including: transactions, GPS information, telco data etc. We also have a senior team of data analysts and mathematicians that develop algorithms and statistical models to be able to have a deeper level of granularity (at a street level) using machine learning.
RTIH: What can we expect to see from Geoblink over the next 12 months?
JSL: Our focus will be on consolidating and strengthening our presence in the UK, France and Spain – really penetrating these key markets and making sure that everyone hears about Geoblink and our brand becomes synonymous with location intelligence.
We’ll also be adding to our technology to make it much more predictive (to help with sales forecasting for the three vertical markets we’re focused on) and investing on the UX to make heavy analysis as simple as possible. Finally, we’ll also be looking to close further deals with additional partners to be able to have more types of data available for our customers. Exciting times ahead!