Marketing teams and other corporate decision-makers have long relied on surveys to learn more about their consumers. However, they may be expensive to build, difficult to scale, and, at the end of the day, only as reliable as the data that goes into them. In the aftermath of record corporate growth in the last couple of years, a London startup called Attest, which has designed a cloud-based, no-code, big-data solution that it claims provides an answer to those difficulties, is announcing $60 million in expansion capital.
The company’s machine learning-based approach is gaining traction against the many incumbent players in the field of online market research — there are hundreds of them, ranging from Kantar and SurveyMonkey to Qualtrics and many more — because it provides faster and more accurate results, according to Jeremy King, the company’s CEO and co-founder.
“The dirty little secret is that most online research has been very low quality,” he said in an interview, pointing out that if you gave the same brief to five traditional market research firms, you’d likely get five different sets of responses, similar to giving a single building briefly to five architects. Attest’s goal is to get away from it and create a far more consistent, and hence trustworthy, market research platform. “We’re doing our best to make it the best it can be.” It’s not ideal, but at least we’re trying, when most internet research, to be honest, doesn’t,” King added. The company’s process, he added, is “suicidally transparent.” It’s a tone that sounds very genuine, but it appears to have struck a chord with a number of prominent personalities. Microsoft, Santander, Walgreens/Boots, Klarna, Brew Dr. Kombucha, Fabletics, eToro, and Publicis are among the company’s clients.
The investment comes from returning investors NEA and Kismet, as well as additional undisclosed backers, bringing the total raised to $85 million, according to Attest. Oxford Capital and Episode 1 (which co-led a $3.1 million round in 2019) are among the company’s other investors. Attest does not disclose its value, but according to PitchBook statistics, it was just under $273 million post-money in August of this year, when this most recent round looks to have been completed.
As you would expect from a data-driven firm, Attest has its own set of interesting data points. The company has amassed a vast database comprised of hundreds of unique panels, user groups, and other sources, totalling 110 million customers in 49 countries. Its claim is that any user (with or without technical knowledge) may build a survey in minutes to target any subset of people from a larger pool and receive replies within 24 hours, if not sooner.
Attest guarantees the data in terms of response numbers and integrity using a complex set of algorithms as part of a 15-step process that begins with formulating questions, sourcing audiences, processing the data and providing it in visualizations that are useful to the person conducting the research, according to King. It is based on a freemium concept, with premium tiers purchasing credits that can be used to answer questions. One credit equals one response per question. The cost of these credits varies between 40 cents and 60 cents.