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Backstroke Aims to Create GenAI Marketing Personalization Opportunities

By Tracey E. Schelmetic

Customers today want personalized marketing, and opportunities are plentiful for companies that can meet this demand. GenAI, when wielded correctly, can serve as an important tool for creating these personalization opportunities.

Husband and wife duo R.J. Talyor and Allyson Talyor, PhD recently announced their plan to launch a new company called Backstroke, a generative AI messaging platform for email, SMS, mobile push and customer marketing made for B2C brands. R.J. will serve as CEO, and Allyson will serve as Lead Data Scientist.

The new company is backed by a $2 million seed round, which was co-led by venture firms High Alpha and Ground Game Ventures (with participation from Allos Ventures). Backstroke aims to combine new technology with seasoned experience to create an opportunity in the marketing tech landscape.

Backstroke leverages a vast dataset from 10,000+ brands, tracking and tagging millions of messages – and their performance, to boot – in more than 200 different ways. This deep data analysis, which has taken nearly three years to harness, powers Backstroke's AI "to generate marketing content that drives up to 64% more revenue per send than human copywriters," according to the company’s founders. Early customers include ecommerce brands like Pearl iZUMi, Nathan Sports, Lyssé and The Porch Swing Company.

Before launching Backstroke, R.J. Talyor was one of the first 50 employees at email marketing company ExactTarget, where he led messaging product teams through the company’s $2.5 billion acquisition by Salesforce in 2012.

R.J. later founded Pattern89, a creative AI platform that was acquired by Shutterstock, Inc. in 2021.

“We've seen the movie before with ExactTarget, and now we're ready to rewrite the script with generative AI," said R.J. Talyor. "Legacy marketing tech is behind — it's too complex and not built for mass personalization. The industry incumbents are ‘Frankensteining’ GenAI features into their platforms. Backstroke is native to these new AI technologies which gives our customers a significant advantage.”



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