Nike’s latest acquisition is a company whose co-founders are on staff at MIT


Nike is ramping up its ability to anticipate consumer needs by buying a company that uses data to predict customer behavior.

The athletic footwear and apparel giant announced it has acquired Celect, a Boston-based retail predictive analytics and demand-sensing firm. Nike said the acquisition fuels its “consumer direct offense” strategy “to serve consumers personally at a global scale.” Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

“With the acquisition of Celect, Nike greatly accelerates our digital advantage by adding a platform developed by world-class data scientists,” said Eric Sprunk, COO, Nike. “As demand for our product grows, we must be insight-driven, data optimized and hyper-focused on consumer behavior. This is how we serve consumers more personally at scale.”

Celect’s team will immediately be integrated into Nike’s global operations team. The company’s co-founders will continue as tenured professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and will consult with Nike on an ongoing basis.

“We’re thrilled to be joining the Nike team, adding our unique and innovative capabilities to the data and analytics foundation they’ve been building over the years,” said John Andrews, CEO, Celect.

Founded in 2013, Celect’s intellectual property portfolio extends across data science and software engineering. Its cloud-based analytics platform provides proprietary insights that allow retailers to optimize inventory across an omnichannel environment through hyper-local demand predictions, according to Nike.

By integrating Celect’s technology into Nike’s mobile apps and website, the company should be able to better predict what styles of sneakers and apparel customers want, when they want it and where they want to buy it from, Sprunk told CNBC.

The Celect acqusition comes as Nike has been emphasizing its direct-to-consumer business. Sales from Nike’s Direct business rose 12% to $10.4 billion in fiscal 2018, reported CNBC, and direct revenue now makes up about 30% of total Nike brand revenue, fueled by online growth.