Home Back Issues March 2012 The sales solution

The sales solution

| Print |  Email
Articles - March 2012
Friday, March 02, 2012

BY LINDA BAKER

0312_Launch_4Tell
Ken Levy, CEO of 4-Tell
// Photo by Alexandra Shyshkina

Amazon.com makes about $19,000 a minute on product recommendations: personalized suggestions that direct customers to products they might covet in addition to what they intended to buy. Now a Portland company is democratizing product recommendation services by developing faster, cheaper solutions accessible to midsize retailers. Launched in 2009, 4-Tell (“foretell”) creates software that functions like “a really good salesperson at the store,” says CEO Ken Levy, who, along with co-founder Ken Lofgren, came up with the concept after entering a Netflix competition to improve movie rental recommendations. Existing recommendation services typically take three months to integrate into a retailer’s website, with contracts of about $50,000 annually. By contrast, 4-Tell’s software takes only a few hours to integrate, and the company bills monthly, starting at $49, says Levy. The automated service also updates constantly “based on all past behaviors of shoppers, your past behavior, and what you’re doing at this moment.” A virtual company, 4-Tell employs seven full-time workers in Portland, the Gorge and Southern California. Gross revenues clocked in just under $1 million last year, and many of the company’s 100 customers, which include Columbia Sportswear, report sales increases of 10% to 25% after using the recommendation service. “At the end of day, we’re providing value to our customers,” Levy says. “That’s what’s exhilarating.”

COMPANY:
4-Tell
PRODUCT:
Software for retailers
CEO:
Ken Levy
HEADQUARTERS:
Portland
LAUNCHED:
2009

MONEY TRAIL
4-Tell has raised more than $1 million from 19 angel investors, including two online marketing professors from the Wharton School of Business; Keiretsu Forum, a national angel investment network; and Bruce Davis, CEO of Beaverton-based Digimarc, where CEO Ken Levy worked as senior director of technology and market development from 2000-2004. It was awarded $120,000 from the Gorge Angel Investors Network competition and $25,000 from the Portland Seed Fund.

WHAT'S NEXT
Levy aims to grow 4-Tell into a “major force” in five years, with $80 million in annual revenue and 150 employees. The e-commerce platform-provider market is consolidating, he says. “So it’s likely we’ll be acquired.”
 

More Articles

Grape Expectations

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Well-financed outsiders from France and California are buying up vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley.


Read more...

Gender Code

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD

Janice Levenhagen-Seeley reprograms tech.


Read more...

Knight Vision

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY

Travis Knight wants to release a movie a year. Can he pull it off?


Read more...

True Blood

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Antibiotics really aren’t magic bullets.


Read more...

College Hacker

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY KLINT FINLEY

Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson builds a 21st-century trade school.


Read more...

Back to School

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY LEE VAN DER VOO

By now we’ve all read the headlines: Starbucks is giving away free degrees. Except it isn’t.


Read more...

Startup or Grow Up?

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY JON BELL

Startup culture is all the rage. Is there a downside?


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS