Two IURTC venture funds invest $400,000 in marketing data technology company

Zio will use investment to scale its team and focus on marketing, sales

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University Philanthropic Venture Fund and the Innovate Indiana Fund have invested $400,000 in Indianapolis-based Zio Inc.

Zio has created its Customer Insight Marketing Platform for brands in the retail sector. The company was co-founded by CEO Angel Morales and IU graduate Reuben Vandeventer, who is its chief data scientist. Morales said the platform creates insights into customer relationships that predict and extend a customer's lifetime value.

"Insights-driven marketing is about creating answers to retail's most pressing questions: What is the future value of a customer? What 'new to them' product is a shopper likely to buy? How likely is this customer to leave my retail brand, disengage from my physical stores or stop buying a specific product line?" Morales said.

"The Customer Insight Marketing Platform uses advanced learning networks to optimize the value of every shopper, across every sales channel, within every product line and at every stage of the shopper lifecycle. Simply put, Zio takes the guesswork out of optimizing the value of a retailer's shopper community and replaces it with science."

Vandeventer said Zio has created a learning system that can self-train, self-correct and self-deploy.

"It can predict how our retailer's customer will engage with the universe of production options in the future by the time windows that matter to retailers: 30 days, 60 days, 90 days and across seasons," Vandeventer said.

"Many organizations struggle with getting the insights from data science back into the operating groups, which can then use the information to make better decisions. Zio not only delivers insights on that data, but we have also optimized that process in such a way that our learning system can pivot with the business while requiring little effort or attention by customers."

Morales said investments from the Innovate Indiana Fund and IU Philanthropic Venture Fund will allow Zio to scale its team and invest in marketing and sales efforts. He said the investment benefits Zio in other ways.

"Anytime a leader in Indiana's education and innovation community can be included as a supporter, it is the fuel that helps companies like ours achieve," Morales said. "It's not simply about the funding; it is about a confluence of students, alumni and educators coming together with a common mission of advancing opportunities in high-growth, high-tech markets. The Innovate Indiana Fund and IU Philanthropic Venture Fund are strategic to Zio on many levels."

Teri Willey, IU Philanthropic Venture Fund manager and executive director of the IU Research and Technology Corp., said investing in Zio connects the fund with key industry leaders.

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to invest in this data analytics venture and to work with founders, serial entrepreneurs and thought leaders Angel Morales and Reuben Vandeventer," Willey said.

About Indiana University Research and Technology Corp.

IURTC catalyzes entrepreneurial activities at Indiana University and provides support for IU innovation-based startup companies. It advises and connects IU startups to capital and commercialization partners, industry mentors, and leadership talent. It also develops appropriate programming and startup space to accelerate company growth.

About Indiana University Philanthropic Venture Fund

The IU Philanthropic Venture Fund is an Indiana University-affiliated venture fund launched in 2018 through the vision and generosity of IU alumni and friends supporting IU discoveries best developed through a new venture. The fund is managed by IURTC staff who work with the IU ICO, alumni, faculty and staff as well as the venture and economic development communities to identify, develop and invest in IU opportunities.

About Innovate Indiana

Innovate Indiana engages strategic partners to advance Indiana University's intellectual resources and expertise, enhance Indiana's economy, and improve Hoosiers' quality of life.

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