Agorize Bags $2.6 Million To Crowdsource Business Ideas With Open Innovation Challenges

When your company wants to find a comprehensive answer on a particular topic, you often end up paying another company to create and handle a marketing survey or rely on Amazon Mechanical Turk. Meet Agorize, a company that relies on open innovation and community crowdsourcing to let companies gather a lot of data on new ideas and ventures. It raised $2.6 million from Iris Capital and Capnamic Ventures with Ader Finance handling the fundraising effort (€2 million).

French startup Agorize has built a few communities that are willing to participate in innovation challenges. There is a student community, an engineer community and a startup community. Agorize will work with big companies, such as Google, Microsoft and Bank of America, to design and submit challenges to these communities.

“Creating and managing challenges with Agorize lets you quickly source new innovation opportunities and potential talent to recruit,” co-founder and CEO Charles Thou told me. “Participants gain experience, meet other participants, and build a professional network and business relations. Like a competitive exam, the winners are also rewarded by our corporate clients.”

And this is key to understanding how Agorize can build these communities — the best challengers could get at a job. Now that it has become so competitive to find a job when you are a young European job seeker, Agorize could lure students into participating in these challenges. Chances are that some companies only use Agorize to identify and hire people.

As a company, it will cost you between €10,000 and more than €100,000 to create a challenge, depending on the scope of the challenge. The most expensive challenges are more comprehensive open innovation challenges that require a lot of people around the world.

There are two advantages when you use Agorize’s platform. First, you don’t have to micromanage the challenge, the startup will take care of it. Agorize will even do a better job, as it continues to manage challenges. Second, as a result of the startup’s method, you are supposed to get better recommendations and data compared to Mechanical Turk or an anonymized marketing survey.

Agorize is both the future of job recruitment and a sort of social marketing survey platform. It’s a weird hybrid that caught the attention of many young people; more than 2,000 universities around the world take part in the company’s challenges, and this is no small feat.