A15 doubles its investment in AI-driven company Intouch

Mohamed Alaa El-Din
4 Min Read

Leading tech investor, A15, has capitalised its investment in the Ireland-based retail personalisation platform Intouch by doubling down its initial investment in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) -driven company.

This comes after A15 invested in Intouch and providing them with in-kind services.

Intouch allows brick-and-mortar stores to collect in-store data about its customers using artificial intelligence to optimise customer interactions and operations. The tool helps retailers with physical stores personalise the shopping experience and better connect their customers to appropriate products.

“The investment from A15 will strengthen our deep ties with the region and our commitment to serve the region with state-of-the-art technology to push the retail experiences for shoppers to the next level,” CEO of Intouch Sameh Abdalla says.

“The Middle East is vitally important to us with several pilots for the largest players in the region going live within the last year,” he added.

In the Middle East specifically, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the grocery market registered 11%, while globally the percentage stands at -2%, based on McKinsey statistics.

According to professional services company Accenture, 75% of consumers prefer to buy products from retailers that personalise their offering.

However, retail CEOs struggle with finding the right talent to bring AI and data-driven solutions to its customers. Hence, Intouch – with the support of A15 – is dedicated to building solutions that leverage best practices from abroad that work for the Middle Eastern market.

According to A15, Egypt’s retail food sector is estimated to be $24.7bn as of 2018, the market is expected to grow by 15%-20% by 2023.

“By that time, incomes will recover and purchasing power will increase after the government’s economic reform programme, which was implemented in 2016. In so, the Egyptian retail foods sector is ripe for Intouch’s technology as modern retail food outlets collectively operate 1,500 outlets, representing 20% of the total sector sales,” CEO of A15 Fadi Antaki explains.

He adds that A15’s regional offices and networks will pose as a launchpad for Intouch in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to boost its traction and client base in key markets as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

Intouch deploys an in-store personalisation platform that automatically understands and responds to hyper-local individual contexts. Grocery, convenience, and petrol retailers spend a lot of money to print promotional materials. However, 91% of in-store promotion never reaches its target audience, according to Bain and Company, a global management consultant firm.

This happens because the promotion channels pre-determine content regardless of context, such as the weather outside, the customers’ demographics, or nearby social events, making the promotional content distant and out-of-touch with timely customer needs.

Intouch’s technology is used by tier one retailers like Circle K, integrated with the world leader in self-scanning software providers like Re-vision, and co-sold by software giant Microsoft.

The company is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, with offices in El Gouna, Egypt, and Toronto, Canada.

A15 is an entrepreneurial company that creates and invests in digital products and technology brands, aspiring to empower the human race to overcome its limits and expand its capabilities. It generates a year-over-year growth of 30% and an annual revenue of $158m through its 17 portfolio companies operating in 16 countries in MENA and more than 1,000 employees. There are nine leading growth companies in its portfolio in the region including Connect ads, a digital agency in the Middle East.

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