Q&A: Luca Morena, Co-Founder and CEO, Nextatlas
RTIH: Tell us about Nextatlas
LM: Nextatlas makes predictions about the future of businesses by applying AI to analyse a wide variety of data, detecting patterns, and developing any key insights for brand, marketing or competitive strategies.
RTIH: What was the inspiration behind setting the company up?
LM: There was this surprisingly paradoxical situation in the trend forecasting industry at the time (mid 2010s): main players in the sector were missing out on huge tech trends, such as Big Data, AI and the visual web. We thought we could be the ones to fill in the gap.
RTIH: What has been the industry reaction thus far?
LM: Fantastic. When you are trying to perfect a new product/methodology, you have to listen carefully to client and industry experts' feedback. Many of the most exciting things we are doing are examples of co-creation with our clients – such as our partnership with Westfield London.
RTIH: What has been your biggest challenge/setback?
LM: Apart from the usual startup challenges, I would say helping change mindsets and workflows that have been established since ages in the insights, creative, and marketing departments of our clients, especially in the fashion industry.
RTIH: What are the biggest challenges facing the omnichannel retail sector right now?
Recognising the customer’s unique profile in an omnichannel environment is the biggest challenge. However, data and AI are helping close the gap.
RTIH: What's the best question about your company or the market asked of you recently by a.) an investor and b.) a customer?
LM: While it hasn’t been a question, some investors are starting to make conversations regarding sustainability and the human factor. On the other hand, customers are extremely surprised when they realise that predictions we made for them come true. Their reaction - “How did you know that?”
RTIH: What can we expect to see from Nextatlas over the next 12 months?
LM: We’d love to push the integration of Nextatlas into the retail experience. In a more distant future, it will be interesting as well to see how we can integrate our technology into manufacturing (think of prototyping products by feeding it our trend data about colours, shapes, etc.). We believe our partnership with Westfield will open up a whole new world of possibilities for technology like ours.