Market research tech startup Attest raises $3.1M

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Attest, a London startup that has built a market research platform to enable companies to get market insights quicker and more often, has picked up $3.1 million in further funding.

Oxford Capital, and Episode 1 led the round, with participation from a number new angel investors including London Business School Emeritus Professor of Management and Marketing Paddy Barwise.

The company says it plans to use the new funding to roll out the full version of its platform, and expand its offering to new sectors and use cases, in a bid to “support and create new research methodologies”.

Founded in mid 2015 by Jeremy King and Tony Hunter, Attest is built on the premise that companies want to make decisions based on better data, but that the traditional market research industry is slow and cumbersome. The answer is a new kind of tech-driven market research and insights platform that specifically solves two problems: how to do more research, more often, and how to incentivise respondents to make this possible.

“All organisations strive to be constantly customer-centric and data-driven, they’re just lacking a way to actually do it,” says Attest’s King. “Demand for information and insight, at high speed and large scale, has never been greater and many areas of demand are entirely unfulfilled. The existing market (Kantar, Nielsen, Ipsos, etc.) have led for a long time, but they lack the speed, power, efficiency and reach to support modern companies with ever-expanding research needs”.

To that end, Attest’s platform, which counts the likes of M&C Saatchi and Deliveroo as customers, lets you design a survey in minutes and then pick out your target audience, in a similar way to the demographic targeting Facebook affords. Those surveys are to take no longer than 7 minutes for a respondent to complete, the optimum time before response rates drop off, and you can expect answers to come back in a matter of hours.

“Traditionally providing research is long, invasive, boring, repetitive, ugly, emotionless, runs in old channels and feels like work,” adds King. “This means that many people don’t participate in research, and many groups are therefore almost impossible to reach. This in turn creates huge bias and quality problems. At Attest, we try to remove all of the bad things about participating in research, and add many different flavours of good things…”

Those good things means surveys that are bite-sized and can be done on mobile, in a similar way to casual gaming or checking social media, and are written to play on five emotions that Attest reckons increase the likelihood of market research participation. These are “contributing, learning, enjoying, rewarding and feeling valuable”.

As an example, Deliveroo used Attest to evaluate new restaurant partners, in terms of the brands, the food, ability to deliver, and how well they fit with Deliveroo and its customers. Another startup, Treatwell, used the platform to gain an understanding of the detailed emotional triggers behind booking a beauty treatment, to feed into its communications and marketing plans.

“Kantar, Nielsen, Ipsos, TNS, GfK and the other major market research agencies are the competitors we’re aiming for. We love and respect them, and we’re aiming to add on top of what they already do, not to replace them,” says King.

“Attest is different because in a world where companies are trying to do 10x more research, everyone else is trying to do the existing 1x a little bit better, while Attest is making the extra 9x possible. We build market research around the interactions and experiences for the real people that respond, which is the exact opposite of the past. It’s a very new approach to research and insights, using a very technical approach that we make very simple for clients, and fortunately it’s working very well so far”.