UK-based global marketing research platform Streetbees has raised $5.1 million in a Seed round. The funding was led by BGF Ventures, and previous investors including Octopus Ventures and LocalGlobe also participated.
Streetbees conducts market research for companies by recruiting “bees” – ordinary people from around the world – who share moments from their lives via smartphone that capture their habits, shopping preferences or political opinions for clients. The information collected from the bees is shared with companies such as Unilever, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, L'Oréal, Dyson, The Times Education Supplement, Vodafone and Amnesty International.
Streetbees wants to change the way companies connect with consumers, giving anyone on the street the opportunity to record their thoughts, attitudes or daily rituals with the Streetbees app. Streetbees uses artificial intelligence and mobile geolocation technology, combined with social media, to gather data from their bees all around the world. The result gives brands insights in real time from consumers on the ground. The company says that its bees get paid a fair rate for sharing their insights, which they receive in cash within 24 hours.
“In a world where brands are willing to invest huge amounts of resources to better understand their consumers, there has to be a better way to capture insights and Streetbees has found it, said Tugce Bulut, CEO and co-founder of Streetbees, in a statement. "We use geolocation and mobile technology to engage the right person in the right place to answer brands’ questions. Streetbees’ grassroots research approach is providing the brands with the rich consumer insights they need at large scale at an affordable price as we connect them directly with their consumers without any intermediaries.”
The business, started in 2015, will use the new investment to expand, planning to double the size of its team, especially hiring engineers and designers to improve its global technology platform. The startup currently has over a million users in 87 countries, and expects to reach 10 million users by the end of 2017.
“Streetbees is disrupting the area of market research which has been carried out with the same traditional methods for years," commented Harry Briggs, partner at BGF Ventures, in a statement. "People are waking up to the failings of political pollsters but market research can also be unreliable and Streetbees can solve that problem by providing rich qualified data in a new way that puts the world’s biggest brands directly in touch with their customers.”
Streetbees is currently conducting a study into the lifestyle and motivations of British entrepreneurs for BGF Ventures.
Read more: Private Equity Wire (Press release)