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Feedback Loop, an “agile research” platform that enables businesses to rapidly collect user feedback, today announced it has raised $14 million in funding as part of a push to “automate and democratize” consumer research.

Brands across the spectrum traditionally carry out consumer research over relatively long periods of time, and often at irregular intervals. Feedback Loop takes a different approach to make market research more of an ongoing process, one that’s aligned with “real-time” demands and accounts for changing attitudes and opinions, thanks to continuous consumer input.

Founded out of New York as Alpha in 2014, the company rebranded to Feedback Loop six months ago and serves to automate many of the stages typically involved in conducting research surveys. It can be used to garner feedback on behaviors and preferences or to A/B test new ideas and concepts before, during, and after the main product development phase. For example, a business can carry out comparisons between different marketing messages, slogans, or new product features and figure out how the end user interprets a particular phrase or responds to a proposed design.

One of the core selling points behind the platform is that it’s designed to allow non-researchers within a company to gather feedback by introducing what Feedback Loop CEO Rob Holland calls “research guardrails.”

“Our platform eliminates common human errors that have historically made traditional researchers shy away from letting business teams conduct their own research,” Holland said. “For instance, we eliminate the need for manual analysis of insights by surfacing the most relevant findings.”

Above: Feedback Loop: New navigation screen survey

Any company that’s looking to develop completely new services or products needs to understand the market they’re going after before they get too far down the product development path, and that’s where Feedback Loop comes in.

“Getting feedback retroactively is a failed approach, as evidenced by the recent Quibi saga,” Holland said. “Foresight [is better than] hindsight, basically.”

Feedback Loop claims a number of notable clients across multiple sectors, including Uber, Farmers Insurance Group, LendingTree, and Humana.

Panels

To tap into user feedback, Feedback Loop uses APIs to channel into audiences that have been segmented from third-party panel providers through marketplace exchanges such as Lucid and CINT.

“Our users select the demographic and behavioral criteria of their desired audiences, and from there the platform automatically screens and selects the right people,” Holland explained. “This process traditionally requires a number of time-consuming and manual steps — our technology automates all of these so that clients can launch their studies immediately.”

Participants are prompted to start the study, with Feedback Loop collecting responses (either quantitative or qualitative) and checking and organizing the data into reports — replete with insights that are good to go.

“This step is critical, as it eliminates the human error that has traditionally marred business teams’ attempts to conduct their own ‘shadow’ research,” Holland added.

Above: Feedback Loop: Insights

For now, Feedback Loop’s main data integrations are with the panel marketplace exchanges, though it can also connect with popular enterprise tools such as Slack to let users receive alerts when study results are ready, for example, or if one of their colleagues has any questions about a study. But there are plans to introduce further integrations that reach deeper into the research ecosystem to make “generating and sharing insights even more frictionless,” according to Holland.

Other players in the space include Suzy, another New York-based startup that recently raised $34 million. These raises suggest real-time consumer feedback tools are in high demand.

According to Holland, Feedback Loop’s core differentiator is that its technology infuses “research philosophy into a platform that automates 30-plus things” while introducing a framework that enables non-researchers to use it.

The company’s $14 million investment closes off its series A round at $24 million. Feedback Loop actually opened the round more than three years ago with a $10 million cash injection, which was followed by two hitherto undisclosed follow-ups of $7.5 million and $6.5 million. The round was led by Crosslink Capital, which has previously invested in major cloud companies such as Equinix and Coupa, and included participation from Spider Capital.

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