15 Mar 2018

Our Investment in Streetbees: Rich insight into communities anywhere in the world at unprecedented scale

Thanks to the internet and mobile revolution, consumers today expect an always-on approach to service from the brands and companies they love. Yet to date it has been nearly impossible for companies to achieve the reverse — an always-on way of engaging with their customer base, at global scale, to quickly and accurately understand their evolving needs and behaviours.

released by ITU, the UN agency for information and communication technologies, shows that 80% of young people now use the internet, and this number is only set to increase as more and more of the developing world comes online in the coming decade. More than half the world’s population is predicted to not only be online by 2020, but to be using a mobile device as their primary method of accessing the internet. That’s a lot of mobile devices enabling the real-time exchange of information between people. When you add all this together, it seems counter-intuitive that the closest industry we have to trying to understand how real people engage with the world around them is an incumbent $40B a year research market that is still dominated by large network agencies, static surveys and cold calling.

We all instinctively know that human behaviour is too complex to standardise and understand with multiple-choice questions and automated analysis, but this is what most research groups still offer today. International companies need deep insight into unique drivers of human behaviour to be able to understand their customers and grow into new markets.

Which is why we are proud to today announce our Series A investment into Streetbees.

Streetbees co-founders Oliver May and Tugce Bulut

Led by co-founders Tugce Bulut (CEO) and Oliver May (CCO), Streetbees is a London-based global intelligence platform that reveals how people behave, and why, by analysing real-life moments collected from its worldwide users on an always-on basis. With Streetbees, we have found the world’s first real-time technology-enabled customer insights platform — giving companies dynamic responses, from real customers, for a fraction of the cost and time taken by traditional incumbents. Streetbees has fundamentally changed the way international companies can engage and understand their global consumer base enabled by mobile technology, Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning which enable it to extract insight from unstructured data (via pictures, video, chat) . We have been incredibly impressed by Tugce and Oliver’s bold vision and dedicated leadership, which has grown the Streetbees community to over 1 million users — or ‘bees’ — across 150 countries worldwide, who are actively responding using the chat-style Streetbees app to share moments from their daily lives. Giving as much, or as little, information as they like. By applying advanced natural language processing technology to the results, Streetbees uncovers not just what they do, but also why they do it, and what drives them — and predicts what they may do next.

This allows Streetbees’ customers — who include Unilever, PepsiCo, BBC World Service, Vodafone and L’Oreal among others — to receive rich insights into communities anywhere in the world at an unprecedented scale and affordable cost, helping them deeply understand new or unfamiliar markets. Using the Streetbees platform, world-leading companies are able to make more informed and accurate decisions about consumer behaviour, and predict future trends with confidence.

With this new funding, Streetbees will further develop its machine learning technology platform to provide customers with a live stream of information from its users that is constantly being collected across the world. The new platform, called Always On, allows customers to have ongoing access to insights from real-life stories, instead of relying on one-shot multiple-choice surveys to try and understand communities and markets. Already, we have witnessed first-hand the results from the platform that have identified surprising trends that have gone unspotted elsewhere. The funding will also allow Streetbees, which currently employs 75 people in London and Lisbon, to expand its data science team, develop its community networks across the world, and grow in the US, where the company opened an office in January 2018.

Streetbees’ mission is to make human data accessible, anywhere in the world. By providing better information that contains real insight into how people behave, the company hopes to make data collection mutually beneficial for companies and global communities by facilitating economic development in areas that have previously been under-served due to lack of market intelligence and visibility.

Real people. Real Lives. In Real time.