Not long after he landed in Sydney in 2014, James Taylor set up shop at Desk Space. He relocated from England to open an Australian office for a Google Ventures company, but three years later launched his own business within the friendly bustle of the co-working space, after taking inspiration from some of the other members.

“Everyone is trying to have a crack at making something,” says Taylor. “You have an idea of what’s going on with other companies in the space, so when we were raising funds we just went and asked.”

That worked a charm. Three people he knew from Desk Space’s Darlinghurst building became angel investors in the company he founded, Particular Audience, which provides a “dynamic personalisation layer” for ecommerce. In other words? Think of what makes Amazon’s ecommerce so frictionless and intuitive, and extend it to businesses of all sizes.

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“Everything that makes Amazon really great, we build the same [kind of] AI-powered search and recommendation and pricing technology,” says Taylor. “And we democratise that for other retailers. Even the biggest retailers in Australia don’t have the resources to do that: they [often] still use third parties.”

Particular Audience’s AI uses natural language programming and computer vision to effectively read and see what you’re shopping for online, offering targeted recommendations in real time based on items you’ve looked at and what’s in your basket. It’s done without using personal data, instead using product data while you’re shopping.

“We understand the relationship between the items,” says Taylor says. “Leveraging the AI in such a way that prediction becomes very accurate based on your evolving journey. It’s exactly the same way Spotify can continue playing you relevant music at the end of a playlist.”

When done right, the process is both rapid-fire and common-sense. “If you’ve started adding the ingredients for a bolognaise to your cart,” says Taylor. “We’re going to quickly show you the rest of the ingredients, and you can add it all in one click.”

Desk Space now has three different levels each offering a different vibe. There are open floors and even some resident dogs. There are traditional desks, cosy lounges and accessible meeting rooms. With a mix of open-plan, private and communal spaces, the Darlinghurst office now accommodates more than 200 members, with the ability for employees from different companies to collaborate and learn from one another on a daily basis.

While the pandemic-era boom in ecommerce has slowed since lockdown, major retailers in Australia and beyond have embraced what Particular Audience can do. But the company hasn’t stopped at mid- and large-scale retailers. It has also launched the consumer product Similar Inc, which gives instant price comparisons via a free Chrome extension. That means you can see all available prices simultaneously, with a wish list feature and a price-beat guarantee.

“As customers are becoming more price-sensitive,” says Taylor, “making sure there’s something to give them better prices in real time is doing wonders.”

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Desk Space.