London-based Streetbees, a startup applying deep learning to consumer behavior and selling the data to global enterprise, has closed a $40 million Series B round to accelerate the growth of its platform. Lakestar led the round, with participation from LocalGlobe, Atomico, GMG Ventures and Octopus Ventures. The UK company has over 3.5 million consumers around the world using an app on their phones to fill out on-the-spot surveys about brands. Though the app is marketed like a social network, where users can chat, send photos and ‘share their life’ and stories — it’s really a mechanism for consumers to sell their data. (The website says Streetbees pays up to £5 per entry.) Then the AI startup uses deep neural networks to analyse it. In this way, Streetbees says it “makes the offline world visible and searchable by indexing its proprietary dataset of millions of offline moments”, and claims to serve eight of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, including PepsiCo, Unilever and Procter and Gamble. “Much like Bloomberg became the platform of choice for professionals requiring up-to-the-minute access to financial market information, we have always felt that Streetbees will become the de facto market research platform for brands needing real-time access to rapidly changing consumer markets,” commented George Henry of LocalGlobe.
With the fresh funding, the company will pursue ‘data acquisition’ across new verticals, including media, entertainment and finance. With its headquarters in London, an office in Lisbon and a new office in the US, Streetbees also plans to increase headcount from 100 to 230 over the next year.