An emerging mobile commerce company with Arkansas and Arizona roots is locating a new analytics center in downtown Little Rock’s River Market.
nGage Labs says it will open an “Analytics Innovation Center” in the River Market and will quickly hire 35 knowledge-based jobs at an average salary above $100,000.
The center will develop the science and algorithms required to utilize large data streams that is expected to lead to more mobile shopping from customers of businesses in the retail, restaurant, education and sporting fields.
“nGage Labs is about using the predictive power of big data analytics to transform impersonal mass mobile communications into a highly personalized and engaging experience, resulting in much higher levels of mobile commerce for our clients,” said Rod Ford, CEO of nGage Labs. “The investment in an Analytics Innovation Center reflects our commitment to deliver disruptive innovation that provides competitive advantage to our customers. We are an innovation company, seeing what others have seen – but thinking what nobody has thought, and we are super excited to bring these new ideas to market.”
nGage Labs uses a proprietary mobile-enabled cloud platform, on-premise location and identification technologies, and dynamic real-time analytics to allow merchants to predict purchase and preference propensity, resulting in an immediate and highly personalized mobile engagement experience. Utilizing digital content management systems, digital signs and kiosks, mobile devices, and customized apps this personalized digital experience results in more frequent interactions and increased mobile commerce.
For example, Ford said a national retailer that is an existing client is using the company’s technology to track customer trips in its stores. The technology allows that retailer to capture customer frequency, average expenditures, preferences for certain items and other relevant data. While that customer is browsing a store’s aisles, an alert can be sent to his mobile device alerting him to new offerings.
“It’s an Amazon-like shopping experience while in a retail store,” Ford said, noting that customers can also utilize his firm’s technology to look at ratings, reviews, how prices compare, and shop for complimentary products.
“The problem we’re solving for our retail customers is we’re driving a bigger basket for shoppers and more return trips to the store,” he said.
He cited another example of how a restaurant franchise is using nGage Labs’ offerings. When a restaurant starts to fall off its peak hourly levels, a manager can send an alert to mobile device users in the vicinity to notify them of specials. The restaurant will know food preferences, customer locations, and other relevant data.
“We call that meeting the customer where they are,” Ford said.
He also said he felt strongly that nGage Labs would be able to tap the talent pool of employees from Acxiom, the former Alltel operations, and other knowledge-based industries in central Arkansas.
“Outside of capital, location gives you the competitive advantage of recruiting,” said Ford. He also advocated for Little Rock to locate its forthcoming technology park in the River Market versus other locations in the city.
“It’s the perfect time and perfect place to create an incubator environment,” Ford said.
His Scottsdale operations are moving into a downtown technology park in Arizona in the next few months.
“We seriously considered building out the Analytics capabilities in Scottsdale, where we have a significant footprint, but the support of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, coupled with what we hope to be a partnership with local universities made Little Rock an attractive option. The River Market offers a vibrant, energetic work environment that is attractive to any innovation or technology company, I couldn’t image locating a company like ours anywhere in town other than the River Market,” said Ford.
nGage Labs was founded in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 2009 as CopiaMobile Inc. and maintains an office in Scottsdale.
The state of Arkansas contributed $1.05 million from the Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund towards infrastructure and equipment expenditures related to training and recruitment for the company.