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BGF Ventures backs Streetbees

Investment news
16.03.2017.

Streetbees, a global research platform that is being used by the world’s biggest consumer companies, has raised $5.1 million in Seed funding to date. BGF Ventures led the round and early investors including Octopus Ventures and LocalGlobe also participated.

Streetbees recruits “bees” – ordinary people around the world – who capture the moments from their lives via their smartphone sharing their habits, shopping preferences or political opinions for clients including Unilever, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, L’Oréal, Dyson, The Times Education Supplement, Vodafone and Amnesty International.

The market research innovator wants to revolutionise the way that global companies connect with their consumers to gain insights by giving them access to anyone and everyone on the street who can record their thoughts, attitudes or daily rituals by using the Streetbees app. Streetbees offers a refreshing approach for global companies where they no longer need to be limited to long surveys or static consumer panels to gather insights, and instead can reach ordinary people on the street who can express their views captured with photos and videos in the moment and shared in real time. Every user gets paid in cash within 24 hours for sharing their invaluable insights.

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 global brands insights in real time from consumers on the ground.

Streetbees’ CEO and co-founder Tugce Bulut calls it the world’s intelligence platform and says it offers global brands high quality information at an affordable price. Streetbees verifies consumers are who they say they are, with phone-number verification and background checks, and ensures that customers are genuinely contributing to the study by asking for photos and videos from the moment.

The business, which was started in 2015 by Bulut and former Morgan Stanley trader Oliver May, will use the new injection of funding to expand, in particular by doubling the size of the 40-strong team in the next year. Streetbees is recruiting engineers and designers to its elite-class product team as it continues to improve its global technology platform to analyse and display information more quickly and affordably. The startup currently has over a million users in 87 countries, covering around 85% of the world’s population and expects to reach 10 million users over the course of the year.

Bulut says: “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. 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.”

Harry Briggs, partner at BGF Ventures, says: “Streetbees is disrupting the area of market research which has been carried out with the same traditional methods for years. 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, on behalf of BGF Ventures, the UK’s biggest early stage venture fund. Entrepreneurs face unique challenges in running their business and often receive little support, yet entrepreneurialism is the lifeblood of business and the economy.

Streetbees pays its “bees” a fair rate for the time involved in sharing their insights. It also works with an army of on-the-ground Streetbees ambassadors who actively recruit new bees and carry out complex research tasks to gather market intelligence. Ambassadors can earn up to £800 a month, depending on which tasks they get involved in.

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