Singled out by McKinsey on the Automotive Congress by Automobilwoche in Germany from more than 100 applicants, VEACT is recognized as a leading player in establishing an exclusive marketplace by fueling the mobility industry with smart data and interactions.
Philipp, you are an enthusiastic entrepreneur as reported by McKinsey. Tell us about you and your passions.
Growing up in the 1980s, I had yearned to explore the world as much as I can. One of my high school years was spent in the United States, then I completed my MBA in Germany and Australia. From the start of my professional life, I took the internship in Mercedes-Benz where I got into data business. The idea was to utilize quality data from different departments to understand and advice how to make products better. What always intrigued me is data technology and automotive.
After that I joined Accenture as strategy consultant. It’s a great employer for those who are seeking to stay at the forefront of digital transformation. And it’s a great place for young professionals. I watched as many premium OEMs burned bright with success and quickly gained my knowledge amid a wide array of innovative projects such as the ones collaborated with Microsoft and Salesforce.
I remember the optimistic energy – an eagerness to move forward to having my own company. It was a long time of searching for the product I wanted to have but the market offered nothing. My friend Ben Phelan, who I knew from college in Sydney, once asked me if I wanted to start a business with him for the same idea I had. Very soon, VEACT debuted on the stage.
What was the fundamental belief in founding VEACT?
We believe it is entering into an era of mobility in which mobility solutions outlast vehicle demands. The focus shall be shifted from cars and features to a truly customer centric view on mobility-demands. They want to move from A to B in a most convenient and fastest way. The whole industry will thus be transformed. Getting to know customer comes to be a key. VEACT was created as a response.
How would you summarize VEACT’s Vision?
VEACT enables traditional and non-traditional automotive players to become true mobility service providers. By combining all data points that are available to us, from connected car, retailers, DMS, OEM, insurance, and financing service, we offer customer intelligence that allow dealer to understand individual customer.
By working tirelessly on that vision, we won the clients such as BMW and Volkswagen. Right now we have more than 30,000 users on our platform.
What type of work do you do in VEACT?
I have served as VEACT’s CEO for most of the company’s existence. I love the place and everything that it stands for. What I see my role as CEO is driving the company forward in a non-stop way. I steer new projects, and at the same time create a fertile environment for people to bring and develop their talents. We started as 2 people (Ben and I) and now we have more than 60 people in the Munich office.
What was the main achievement along the past 7 years of VEACT?
Scaling our business! We started off with a tool measuring marketing success and that earned us great clients. From there we transformed to a platform for marketing campaigns implementation. Now we are evolving to be able to provide customer mobility profile thanks to our rapidly growing data hub.
One of the right products we developed over the last 2 years is Customer Vitality Analysis (CVA). It enables you to tell if a car has been active or inactive. VEACT’s software searches all invoice line items of each individual customer and consolidates them to convey the purchasing behavior of customers. It empowers dealer, OEM, suppliers and all parties that have worked with us to know how much revenue potential this individual customer has. We achieved huge success in terms of this product.
Is Customer Vitality Analysis a major reason regarding your awarding of McKinsey review?
McKinsey basically said everyone that is not putting customers first in the mobility industry would die. It’s easy to say but hard to get because you need to put all the data points together that predict the buying behavior in your existing customer base. CVS is a product bridging the gap between data and customer intelligence. You can reach all sorts of marketing functions enriched by data.
To facilitate car communication for car dealers, we have developed a platform to centrally manage customer data.
What makes you stand out on a more general market? Are there similar business models in this area?
We definitely have a lot of horizontal players, for example Microsoft and Salesforce. The difference is our position as one of the first vertical technology players that can work across all boundaries. Microsoft are bound by their own products. However, our customers don’t need to install any of the existing software. We go to all the data silos from OEM, dealers, marketing service providers and connect them.
Having realized the penetration point, we formed our strategy and built a middleware that connects to all data points. Our database technology differs fundamentally from the technologies currently used in car dealerships. It is much faster and uses completely different search algorithms. With a technology-empowered system, we provide compelling and easy-to-use reports.
As you mentioned automotive software, how do you view the challenge from them?
I think the main challenge is the legacy software around automotive industry. What lies ahead is technical barrier, because you need to deal with legacy software that may not have the latest interfaces, and obviously doesn’t have the latest concept. The alliance behind legacy software tries to have this one castle where they put everything in. You do not have any access if you are not part of them.
The stepping point for us is their absence of key technology such as predictive analytics. We introduced this function and ensure dealers that we will not replace any existing software or platform. Every OEM and dealer we’ve talked to are convinced to look at the legacy connections. It also pushed forward our partnerships with apps, CRM providers, and new platforms to constantly upgrade our data entries and strategies. MCON is one of our great partners regarding CRM.
How can I get in touch with VEACT products in Asia?
Whoever interested to understand what the consumer profile looks like and how to steer their business based on the analysis are always welcome to contact us. We are open to talk (contact MCON if you are in Asia). Our dedicated team will help you with a trail run starting from our bestselling products.