EDWINA DUNN AND CLIVE HUMBY TO JOIN STARCOUNT

Sam Maughan our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 8/8/2013 2:32 PM

The husband-and-wife team who made more than £90m from helping Tesco understand what customers put in their shopping baskets are turning their hands to tailoring brands to individual users on the likes of Twitter and Facebook.

Edwina Dunn and Clive Humby – who sold their Dunnhumby business to the supermarket giant for £93m – are to join the board of social network analytics firm Starcount.

The pair are selling their private vehicle, H&D Ventures, to Starcount for an undisclosed sum, taking a stake in the business as part of the deal. It comes alongside a $5m (£3.25m) fundraising for Starcount, with new investors including Artemis Capital and Praetura Capital.

In addition, Christopher Carter, former vice-chairman of institutional securities at Morgan Stanley, is joining Starcount’s board as chairman. He is also one of the new investors in what is the company’s third equity fundraising. Starcount is run by chief executive Drew Thomson, who remains in the role.

Ms Dunn and Mr Humby set up H&D Ventures 18 months ago to continue their business interests in data mining following their exit from Dunnhumby. Since then, they have worked on a mobile data project for one of the country’s largest mobile networks, and looked at the different ways of using data from social networks. Ms Dunn described the move as her and her husband’s “big play”, referring to it as a “quantum leap” from their work with Tesco.

She said that brands and companies tended to be poor at marketing to individuals via social networks.“In a way, we’ve gone back to mass marketing – everyone gets the same tweet or blog,” she said. “With the data that are available, we can look specifically at the people who influence others, and we can make ambassadors of them for brands and celebrities.”

The duo began working with Tesco in 1995, helping use its Clubcard loyalty scheme to understand what its customers were buying, and how to attract them back to its stores. They stepped down from executive roles at Dunnhumby at the end of 2010.


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