I was based in San Francisco, I led growth and was a director in the Board. I was part of the founding team. We raised $55M in 2007, and the company was fully acquired by CRIF in March 2020. Apple had previously acquired our patents in 2012.
At Strands Inc, we started in 2004 by logging people’s online behaviour, and we built an agnostic personalization engine on top of incoming user data. We started very early on, it was the first moments when entrepreneurs thought that online taste could be captured to extract intelligence out of the aggregated data.
We built plugins for desktop (view screenshots here) and apps for Windows Mobile and Symbian. You can watch a video of the MyStrands music recommender in Symbian below, which I think is pretty cool.
I remember doing a demo of our Windows mobile app to Michael Arrington in 2006, in his first office, and I remember how he wow’ed and said something like “you Europeans are crazy about mobile“. You can read Michael Arrington’s description of our early tech and product here;
We abandoned this segment in 2007, and all our music and media IP was acquired by Apple.
During 2007 and 2008, we built different consumer products on top of our personalization tech. We even worked with Times Square in New Years Eve. One of those products was in finance, and that’s were we ended up focusing.
In 2007, we built a fintech and we started to collect people’s credit card events in a similar to way to how we were collecting music play counts. Thru aggregation and analysis of events and their metadata, we developed personal financial management tools, and tools for banks to better target clients. We raised $55M in 2007.
In finance, we started by building taste profiles on top of people’s credit card use (collection of payment data -> taste profiles -> recommender systems & PFM). For us, tracking music playcount data or credit card data was the same concept obviously with lots of implementation differences. We initially built both a consumer app (still available) and also deployed the service at ING, Bank of Montreal and others with $12M in 2007 revenue. The list of clients grew to more than 30 banks worldwide.
Strands was acquired by CRIF in March 2020 and all founders and investors sold 100% of our shares. Previous to that, in 2007 founders and early investors sold part of our shares to Grupo Zeta and in between Apple acquired all Strands patent portfolio that we developed during our first years.