Nearly every customer experience across all industries is driven or supported by ever-more-quickly-evolving digital technology. Harold Hughes, Founder and CEO of Bandwagon, a South Carolina-based live experience technology company, is successfully tapping into a market that’s expected to reach $38.9 billion by 2030. With customer experience reaching a diverse array of audiences, along with an under-represented founder at the helm of an innovative company, perhaps this is the key needed to shifting the paradigm and ignite cultural capital.
The Breakdown You Need To Know:
Hughes’ Bandwagon drives descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics that’s disrupting the sector. He’s raised more than $3 million in venture capital funding to become a major player in the experience-tech space as CultureBanx noted during its “Igniting Cultural Capital” session with UBS. Bandwagon has raised funds from major investors including Black Star Fund along with Realist Ventures, putting them well on their way to fully disrupt the sector.
According to Harvard Business Review, the cost to retain a customer is 25% lower than the cost of acquiring a new customer. It’s information like this that Hughes uses to fuel Bandwagon’s growth around customer acquisition and retention along with his company’s most valuable asset which he describes as social capital. “We’re finding that a lot of the time our customers may not even know what they want, but they need someone who they can trust,” said Hughes.
Customer experience drives more than two-thirds of customer loyalty, outperforming brand and price combined, according to Gartner
Cultural Capital plays an important role not just for Hughes but for his inventors as well. For example, Kwame Anku, Black Star Fund’s CEO & Chairman, an early stage innovation fund, who has invested in Bandwagon knows the importance of an inclusive investing strategy and building up diverse-led startups. “This is a massive opportunity… We run these funds with portfolios of 17 to 18 companies that we’ve been in for five years. I knew back in 2016 that Black founders were going to get outsized returns and now we have the data to prove it,” said Anku.
It’s not just Anku who understands the importance of inclusive investing, so does Marie Rocha, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Realist Ventures, a Connecticut-based venture fund that invests in early-stage software and biotech startups, who is also invested in Bandwagon. She expressed that more needs to be done to get capital into the hands of Black entrepreneurs and stated “we’re still at 1.3% of the capital that goes to Black founders and we need to see more LP’s investing in emerging fund managers who don’t look like them.”
Customer experience-tech not only gets brands closer to the “money engine” of the business, but it also enables them to create more “stickiness” with the customer. With companies like Bandwagon staking their claim they can have a major impact on the innovation wave taking over this sector while increasing cultural capital and that’s an experience we can all benefit from.