Accelerators / AI / Ecommerce / Products / Startups

Techstars startup 1to1 is helping ecommerce vendors personalize your shopping experience

Cofounded by Rittenhouse's Pratik Desai, the company offers both a personalization engine tool and consulting services. Next up: fundraising.

Pratik Desai. (Courtesy Pratik Desai)
It’s a product ready made for Cyber Monday.

Have you ever experienced the phenomena in online shopping when the website shows you a million products you aren’t looking for? Say, you want T-shirts, but the site keeps showing you dresses? That’s why Pratik Desai and Christopher Irslinger started 1to1, a personalization engine for ecommerce vendors to communicate more relevant content to consumers.

The Philly-cofounded startup launched a year ago and is already earning kudos from prominent tech accelerator Techstars.

1to1’s tool, Ragana, detects what consumers are looking for on an ecommerce site and uses artificial intelligence to customize the content each consumer is seeing based on their needs. Desai previously worked at SalesForce as the tech giant’s personalization engine practice lead; 1to1 started as a consultancy helping customers implement SalesForce’s personalization tool.

“Over time, we started realizing that there was gaps” in SalesForce’s offerings, Desai told “We started building custom solutions on top of it, and that’s what gave rise to the idea that we can help folks both from a strategic perspective, but also build a custom solution on top of the SalesForce ecosystem to continue to extend the value of these products.”

The personalization engine product is tailored toward large-scale retailers with an ecommerce presence. 1to1 still offers consultancy services to its clients, but now also offers a subscription for its own product.

The three-person company is remote with Desai based in Rittenhouse, cofounder Christopher Irslinger based in New Jersey, and a third full-time employee based in Wyoming.

The company turned a year old in September, and shortly after entered the winter 2023 cohort of the Techstars NYC Accelerator, alongside DC’s Joylet and 10 others. The three-month program will culminate in a demo day on Feb. 15.

“Techstars NYC has a proud tradition among the very top and highest regarded accelerators in the world since the launch of the program in 2011, and we’re thrilled to continue that tradition with this exciting group of talented founders,” said Jordan Fliegel, managing director of Techstars NYC, in an announcement about the new cohort. “This NYC class will benefit from those who have come before — the existing community of mentors, alumni founders and investors who will be eager to meet and support them.”

From Techstars, Desai is hoping to learn how to tell the company’s story better in order to raise capital in the new year, he said.

“I’m a first time-founder, and so you don’t know what you don’t know, right?” Desai said. “Within the first week, they just threw so much valuable information at us. With three weeks in, it’s been an intense program. … Extremely intensive, extremely demanding, but so rewarding and so valuable.”

1to1’s founders spent the last year identifying the problem they want to solve and if there’s a need for their product, Desai said. Moving into its second year, they want to focus on how to scale their product.

And they don’t want to only help out corporations, but small businesses, too — the folks selling homemade wares on Shopify, for instance.

“Long term, what I would love to do is figure out how to bring inclusivity to the ecommerce market, and hyper-scale something that works really well to sell, which is personalization,” Desai said. “… How do we bring these types of solutions not just to the enterprises of the world, but to the mom and pops of the world?”

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2023 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: Techstars

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