Former Target Trio Gets Entrepreneurial With IoT Retail Platform Advos

AdvosAs ecommerce continues to grow into a dominating force of the modern retailing world, brick-and-mortar outfits of all shapes and sizes must adapt if they want to be competitive.

While still nascent in application, micro location technology aka ‘beacons’ appear to be one of the most promising frontiers for those seeking to bridge the gap between physical and digital retail.

Brook Oldre, Brandon Johnson and Brett Loney have plenty of combined experience in this arena, as they were all part of the team that developed Target’s mobile coupon program Cartwheel.

Since then, the trio has branched off to form their own ad tech agency called Opnia.


Founded about a year ago, Opnia is launching its signature product called Advos, a socially-integrated IoT platform designed to create a more timely and personalized shopping experience for customers with substantial benefits to retailers.

content-img-1Advos utilizes micro-location beacon technology to allow vendors to reach customers with specials and promotions based on their proximity certain products or departments, and also allows companies to aggregate consumer data for the purposes of research and remarketing. For instance, if a person is walking through the store and happened to be shopping for a TV, the retailer can follow up later or suggest similar products.

The team at Opnia is adamant, however, that the usage of this software will not be one-sided.

“We feel strongly that the user has to gain lots of value out of it,” says Oldre, who had been developing the technology for years before joining forces with his colleagues. He points out that shoppers can gain contextual information while browsing, and could use it to reach out to employees for assistance.

“Advos provides more information to the person when and where they need it,” adds Johnson. “It allows for a richer in-store experience.”

One of the biggest differentiators for Advos is that it’s hardware-agnostic, meaning that it works with basically any micro-location technology, from iBeacon to NFCs to indoor wifi triangulation to GPS coordinates.

With its flexibility and its powerful applications for analytics and marketing, Advos has plenty to offer for brick-and-mortar companies trying to keep pace in a digital environment. The program is currently in beta with France 44 liquor store in Minneapolis, and Opnia is in talks with several large companies. Oldre says he sees the product as a SaaS but would be open to licensing it if the right situation arose.

Presently, the team is focused on spreading the word and building the prospect pipeline. A victory in Facebook’s 2015 Innovation Competition for marketing partners, where Advos has advanced through several rounds and is vying to become a top-four finalist this summer, would certainly help them on that end.