Using AI to turn focus panel feedback into real business insights, London's Zappi clinches $170 million

In a year that saw AI-driven market research company Zappi mark its 10th anniversary, the team is finishing up with a giant growth raise having scored commissions from PepsiCo, McDonald's and Heineken.
Using AI to turn focus panel feedback into real business insights, London's Zappi clinches $170 million

Zappi, a consumer insights startup that's leveraging AI to whittle down marketing and product concepts, is today announcing a $170 million growth raise from Sumeru Equity Partners and unnamed co-investors.

The London/Boston company is pitching AI as part of its market research software suite, which uses automation taught using 1.2 billion historic consumer insights to spot promising marketing and product ideas, helping teams pick the right market fit.

Steve Phillips, CEO and co-founder of Zappi, says just 3% of market research right now is digitised. On average, the company believes it can take 6-8 weeks to finalise and the cost typically climbs north of $30,000.

"Zappi has a bold vision for the future: we want to digitise consumer insights for every enterprise," Phillips added, "We’re driving innovation in the century-old industry with a platform that acts as a single source of truth for the modern enterprise, where creators have the right insights at their fingertips to inform every decision."

Founded in 2012 and awarded B-Corp status this year, Zappi and its 300-strong workforce have scaled its presence across 13 international markets. On the way, they've added some pretty high-profile marketing commissions in the US - from PepsiCo and McDonald's - as well as in Europe from Heineken beer and the UK health and nutrition firm Reckitt.

In 2016, covered a £12 million round for Zappi led by Amsterdam-based Prime Ventures.

This $170 million raise sees the startup join the portfolio of Sumeru's most recent LP fund — the $1.3 billion Fund IV.  Three Sumeru principals (Sanjeet Mitra, George Kadifa and Sofija Ostojic) will now be appointed to Zappi's board of directors.

Responding to the news, the three principals said: "We see a world where every single company wants to know what its customers are thinking — driving tens of billions of annual spend on researching consumer insights.

"Zappi has reimagined the entire process by using innovative technology to empower enterprises to collaborate with customers in real-time, resulting in meaningful product and advertising decisions made more efficiently and thoughtfully."

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