A martech veteran shares insights on growth-as-a-service, a new e-commerce solution category.

Graas, an eCommerce tech solutions provider, has announced raising $40 million to launch a new product category, Growth-as-a-Service. A percentage of this amount has been used to acquire SELLinALL (a multichannel e-commerce platform) and Shoptimize (a Direct-to-Consumer eCommerce enabler).

A martech veteran, Prem Bhatia, Co-Founder & CEO of Graas, shares his insights on growth-as-a-service, a new e-commerce solution category, in this MartecAsia.net interview. He has worked in advertising, media, and technology for more than 20 years across different countries, such as the USA, the UK, China, India, and Singapore.

What is growth-as-a-service, and how does it work?

Graas launched its “Growth-as-a-Service” solution to help brands turbo-charge their eCommerce business.

From demand generation to demand fulfillment, with multiple variables, dependencies, and greater complexity, brands find it hard to scale profitably. Relying on data can be the most effective way to make informed decisions. However, data from multiple sources are typically siloed today, making meaningful analysis extremely labour-intensive.

To address this, Grass has developed its “Growth-as-a-Service” solution, which integrates traditional data silos and applies a machine-learning AI engine. Imagine that this works like an in-house data scientist. The end output of the data scientist, in this case, the AI, is trend predictions. These trends are used to give real-time insights and actionable recommendations to brands.

The platform can also turn insights into actions by executing these recommendations across marketplace storefronts, brand.coms, social and conversational commerce, performance marketing, inventory management, warehousing, and last-mile logistics. This ultimately impacts the brand’s bottom line, driving profitable growth.

With a plug-and-play model, this solution makes growth accessible to brands of all sizes, with minimal need to adjust their internal structures – thus “Growth-as-a-Service.”

How is growth-as-a-service different from existing solutions?

Graas uniquely addresses this challenge in three ways.

Firstly, Graas connects previously siloed business segments to reduce complexity. This creates a unified data pool that helps brands identify opportunities to scale growth.

Secondly, Graas applies a proprietary AI engine to this data pool. This engine analyses vast amounts of information to predict trends.

Lastly, Graas turns insights into action. Through a single solution, brands are able to seamlessly execute these data-driven recommendations across their chain. This includes marketplace storefronts, brand.coms, social and conversational commerce, performance marketing, inventory management, warehousing and last mile logistics.

Graas is the only AI engine that covers the entire eCommerce business end-to-end.

Why is algorithmic eCommerce the only viable solution for brands?

The complexity of modern eCommerce has created a tsunami of data in terms of volume, variety, and velocity – without algorithms, finding meaningful patterns and insights will become nearly impossible. It’s also important to note that algorithmic eCommerce is not new – but what is different is its design and application.

Algorithmic eCommerce supports brands in myriad ways – to name a few, including customer segmentation, generating product recommendations, informing dynamic pricing, and predicting inventory demand. With all the benefits that algorithmic eCommerce brings and the increasingly competitive and complex data environment that eCommerce businesses are facing, it is hard to imagine a future where the use of predictive AI is not deemed a necessity.

How can one make data science affordable to brands and merchants?

Previously, AI-powered business processes were out of reach for most companies, with brands needing to build not only the AI engines in-house but also the supporting infrastructure and teams with the right skill sets – which is prohibitively expensive. Only larger corporations like Amazon and Walmart were able to access and implement large-scale data science solutions.

Outsourcing these functions under a “Growth-as-a-Service” solution, massively reduces the resources brands need to commit in order to get the same functionality level. By leveraging the economies of scale and having dedicated R&D teams, Graas can provide the functionality of having a larger data science and operational team at a fraction of the price it would cost to build similar capabilities in-house.

What are the solutions and expansion plans of Graas?

This is just the beginning.

Just last week, Graas launched its “Growth-as-a-Service” solution with its first fundraise of over US$40M. As part of its fast go-to-market strategy in the region, Graas has also fully acquired Southeast Asia’s marketplace specialist, SELLinALL, and India’s D2C and data specialist, Shoptimize Inc. This will allow Graas to integrate its technology and the expertise and knowledge of its teams.

Graas currently already has 250 customers. The platform also manages 4 million SKUs and 45 million monthly data points. The team currently spans across 11 offices in 7 countries, with over 350 employees. Graas is excited to continue growing, and these numbers are only slated to increase as they continue to expand in the region.

For the rest of the year, Graas will be focusing on product innovation. The goal is to use Graas’ AI engine to deliver actionable recommendations across advertising, storefront (content & promotions), and inventory & supply chain.

How can Graas help marketers and enterprises?

The founders of Graas, Ashwin Puri, and Prem Bhatia are serial martech entrepreneurs and investors who have involvement in the sector for some time. Their close view of the market has led them to identify the key challenges faced by CMOs of top brands, and they have developed Graas specifically to target these challenges.

India and the SEA are the fastest growing regions for eCommerce in the world, with US$200B in GMV. Despite this growth, eCommerce accounts for less than 10% of all retail in the region. Unlike the US and the China markets, where there are strong dominant players in the ecosystem, these regions have become a battleground, with many players vying for market share.

With increasing marketplaces, revenue shares with various platforms, advertising and customer acquisition costs (CAC), and fluctuating warehouse and last mile costs, brands are finding it increasingly difficult to manage profitability as the eCommerce sector continues to become more complex.

Graas supports marketers and enterprises by reducing this complexity – which will ultimately help brands reduce their time to market and create a streamlined, informed approach to marketing, inventory, and content management – all in one dashboard.