When Windsor Circle made an SEC filing that disclosed the raising of some $1 million in new capital last week, few outside Durham’s startup community knew that the ecommerce data firm had recently laid off about half its staff (30 employees) and was embarking on a serious reboot of its business. So what was going on?

Windsor Circle co-founder and CEO Matt Williamson explains why the company is changing its focus to larger customers – and why the move meant significant layoffs.

  • Why the reboot/pivot?

“We found that enterprise clients were much more capable of getting up and running with the sophistication of our platform and thus making high ROI [return on investment,” he says. “We’re going where we are most delighting clients.”

  • Why raise money when you are cutting staff and expenses, he was asked. How will the funds be used?

“Because our move upmarket is exciting,” Williamson explains as the company shifts focus to bigger clients.

“We’ve been winning and launching clients like divisions of Amazon and Petco and driving really powerful results for them. But it’s different than the SMB [small business market] market we served earlier in our trajectory.

“We reconfigured the team to go after the new opportunity and the investors liked the plan so they jumped in with another financing.”

With new cash and revenues still growing, Williamson says he is investing in more technology to address the needs of larger clients.

“We’re using the funds to double down on our predictive data science like the predictive replenishment, predictive gifting, and predictive win back models,” he says.

“[A]nd our Omni channel capabilities – for example we just launched our Facebook Audiences tool, which a client has already proven a 10x ROI [return on investment] on.”

[What’s omni channel? “Omnichannel retailing uses a variety of channels in a customer’s shopping experience including research before a purchase. Such channels include retail stores, online stores, mobile stores, mobile app stores, telephone sales and any other method of transacting with a customer,” notes Wikipedia.]

Windsor Circle launched its Predictive Customer Value (PCV) Module in January.

  • So why not use the new funds to retrain existing staff and keep jobs?

“It’s just a different model and we need to prove that model fully with a smaller team that is focused on enterprise clients,” Williamson replies.

– Rick Smith