We provide real world businesses with the level of data insights that the online world takes for granted. By combining location data with industry leading AI, Olvin offers its customers with clear and actionable insights, powerful data feeds, and detailed reports on foot traffic.
Tell us about yourself?
I am the Founder & Executive Chairman of Tamoco, the world’s biggest proximity network, and Olvin. Prior to founding Tamoco, Sam worked for six years at Orange, where he held within various positions, notably, being responsible for bringing the first contactless mobile payments and contactless mobile ticketing service to the UK. I’ve continuously pursued a number of entrepreneurial ventures, including Executive Numbers – the UK’s only mobile phone customization service (Sold 2008), KACE London – a large retailer of luxury and high-end phone accessories (sold 2010) The Executive Magazine – the largest free luxury publication in London (closed 2012) and Crowdit – Northern Europe’s largest nightlife app (sold 2017).
I find sitting at the cutting edge of so many technologies exciting, because you are really breaking into unchartered territory. Sometimes it leads nowhere and sometimes you can discover something awesome.
Either way it’s an amazing adventure and one that I don’t think can be achieved any other way than as an entrepreneur. Having worked in politics, retail and legal industries, I’ve always had tech as a ‘side hustle’ in my life.
Whether it be pulling apart games consoles and building computers through to building websites and forums in the early 2000’s on school computers, I’ve always found myself coming back to technology.
When I started to learn about proximity technologies and big data in my time at Orange, I felt that this was something I was really passionate about. Since then, I’ve been obsessed with creating products that make use of sensors, and then leverage data to automate and curate experiences based on patterns.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
No comment on this question as nothing came to mind given that 1 to 2 years ago we were in lockdown and naturally there wasn’t a lot of foot traffic data to be obtained.
What problem does your business solve?
For years and years, online retailers have had it easy. The entire customer journey, from seeing a web add to completing a transaction, can be tracked, measured and optimised.
Olvin seeks to level the playing field, by offering businesses in the real world insights to support their business decisions.
From assortment planning to site selection, Olvin provides the confidence they need to make the next move, and the support they need to make it.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
Olvin was born out of a previous company called CROWDIT, which became the largest nightlife app in Northern Europe. In our pursuit to monetise the app, we spoke to giants brands who seemed a lot more interested in the data we had than the app itself.
We then sold the consumer app in 2017 to focus on exploring the theory that businesses in the hospitality sector were yearning for better knowledge of their customers.
Who were they? Where did they go? Why did they go to my competitor? Whilst e-commerce had access to these types of tools for many years, brick and mortar industries didn’t have anywhere near the same level of insight.
There was a huge disconnect between brands and consumers and probably most importantly, the number of variables that impacted people’s decisions in the real world was manifold of that online.
It became extremely clear that physical retailers had little choice, which was limited to a dated and slow set of options. They weren’t able to move as quickly and dynamically as their online counterparts, and were left being reactive rather than proactive.
Influences such as events (e.g. parades, protests, concerts, sport), weather, crime, traffic and more have become more prevalent over the past two years. This gave us a pretty accurate understanding of how behaviours change and what retailers can come to expect when these things occur.
What is your magic sauce?
The power of prediction. We leverage sophisticated AI and Machine Learning models to give our customers a future view of foot traffic data.
Our competitors insights focus on the past, and while we offer this, we go one step further. Olvin’s data is as close to looking into a crystal ball as businesses are ever going to get.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
Olvin has set out to be the worlds most trusted source of foot traffic data.
By constantly improving the technology behind our insights, bringing on more and more key strategic partnerships and crucially, by having the most accurate data available to the public, in 5 years time we see ourselves being the Google Analytics of the physical world.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
The biggest challenge we have faced is focused on the data we build our solution on. Some limitations to location data, both public regulations or private mandates, have caused us to rethink our practices in the past.
Whilst public opinion on location data remains a factor of consideration, Olvin can continue to point to a level of transparency that should mitigate perception of our usage of location data in predictive models.
Furthermore, the nature of the model allows a degree of adaptability, allowing us to focus on one of the many other data sources if location data is removed, as there is enough external data remaining to ensure the model still functions.
How do people get involved/buy into your vision?
Olvin is always looking for the best of the best in the world of Data. Visit our website for details on becoming part of a data revolution.
We are also always looking for guest posters, so if you have something to say and want to share it on our platform, get in touch.