StreetBees is an artificial intelligence startup that is turning the $45 billion market research industry on its head
The global revenue of the market research industry is more than 44 billion U.S. dollars, according to the latest 2015 data from Statista. Up until now, the industry has been dominated by the old guard of traditional market companies like Nielsen and others. However, the current traditional approach to market research has proven to be ineffective and notoriously untrustworthy. Market research can be highly accurate or wildly incorrect depending on methods and approach used.
Rather than using the conventional approach of questionnaires or surveys, one artificial intelligence startup, Streetbees, is paying a million of real people around the world to take photos and videos of the products, services and habits of their daily lives. With the power of Artificial Intelligence and geolocation technology, Streetbees connects businesses and corporations with real people on the ground to gather real-time insights. Their customers can now collect data from anyone, anywhere in the world in an affordable way. The startup applies advanced natural language processing technology to the results. From the results, Streetbees uncovers useful insights: what they do, why they do it, and what drives them. The resulting data is later used as loop feedback to predict what they may do next.
Founded in 2015 by Tugce Bulut (CEO) and Oliver May (COO), the startup has raised a total of $17.1 million funding. Streetbees is also backed by some of the best and planet’s most renowned investors and entrepreneurs including Robin Klein, Richard Reed and Octopus Ventures. Its investors have also backed TransferWise, Zoopla, FarFetch, Graze, Wonga and other popular startups. Streetbees is already killing it. The startup has been able to lure customers away from the traditional market companies. Its customers include: L’Oreal, PepsiCo, Unilever and Vodafone, PepsiCo and BBC World Service, and nine out of the world’s 10 largest fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies. These companies receive actionable insights from communities anywhere in the world at an unprecedented scale and affordable cost, helping them deeply understand new or unfamiliar markets and make informed decisions.
The story of Streetbees is inspiring. In 2014, when working as a strategy consultant, Tugce was approached by one of the world’s largest tea brands to boost their growth in international markets. The company needed to know how people actually bought and made tea in India, Azerbaijan, Nigeria and many other countries, to offer the right type of products. The research was designed to lay the groundwork for a large new product roll-out in these countries that would lead to the creation of many new local jobs. Traditional market research companies quoted £500,000 to collect this data in 20 countries, which was too expensive for the company and as a result, the project did not go ahead. Given that there were actually people in those countries who were making tea at that very moment and who would have been more than happy to offer their insights in return for the right compensation, Tugce came up with the idea of a global platform to connect the companies directly with their consumers. “Without the agencies and panels in between, the cost of research would go down, information would flow more quickly, and more business would happen. Streetbees was born to bridge this information gap, to make the human data accessible – anywhere in the world,” the co-founder said on the story page of their website.
So, are how they getting incredibly great results? Streetbees gathers consumer data, photos and videos directly from their own on-the-ground community in 87 countries. It then uses the data from real-time photos and videos to provide unique insights into everyday rituals, consumption habits and attitudes of consumers to discover NPD and marketing opportunities, and identify competitive threats. Using the collected data, Streetbees is able to provide “In the moment insights” and able to answer questions like: What are the tea rituals across Asia? What types of tea are used and how is it brewed? What tea brands are in the kitchen cupboard? What are the attitudes towards a new offering in the market? The company also provide real-time opinion polls. Whether it’s understanding how people perceive a brand compared to the competitors or gathering views on unfolding political or economic events, the company has all the massive data for its customers to make the right business decisions.
“Human behaviour is too complex to standardise and understand with multiple-choice questions and automated analysis, but this is what most research groups dish up time and time again,” Tugce Bulut, CEO of Streetbees, said. “International companies need deep insight into unique drivers of human behaviour to be able to understand their customers and grow into new markets.” Streetbees now has over one million users – or ‘bees’ – across 150 countries worldwide that use Streetbees app to share moments from their daily lives via videos, photos and text, giving as much or as little information as they like.
“Our principle has always been that research is all about seeing what’s actually happening in people’s lives,” says Bulut. With their great team married with innovative artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, Streetbees is well positioned to be the leader in the market research industry.