Intelligence platform Streetbees has announced a $12 million in Series A investment.

The London firm will use the cash to further develop its core machine learning technology – which transforms the real-time data provided by its global community of users into actionable insights for brands – and launch its first office in the United States.

The funding round was led by Atomico with participation from all existing investors including LocalGlobe, Octopus and BGF Ventures.

“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,” said Streetbees CEO Tugce Bulut.

“Streetbees captures the detail within people’s lives at scale and analyses it, helping companies both understand the bigger picture and act like an innovative start-up that has intimate knowledge of local markets.”

Over a million users – or ‘bees’ – across 150 countries worldwide use the chat-style Streetbees app to share moments from their daily lives via videos, photos and text, giving as much or as little information as they like.

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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.

As a result, Streetbees’ customers – who include Unilever, PepsiCo, BBC World Service, Vodafone and L’Oreal, and nine out of the world’s ten largest fast-moving consumer goods companies – receive rich insights into communities anywhere in the world at an unprecedented scale and affordable cost, helping them deeply understand new or unfamiliar markets.

“Streetbees is an example of a research company appropriate to the times we live in,” said Bruce Enslin, senior consumer and market insight manager of Unilever South Africa.

“Streetbees uses technology to help me in my role to bring insights to the business faster, and often cheaper than old methods.

“These insights are often much more insightful as they come from a combination of quantitative evidence, along with qualitative consumer video evidence.

“These insights are all easily accessible through a user-friendly dashboard.”

Carolina Brochado, the Atomico Partner who led the investment, said: “Traditional market research is slow, rigid and expensive, costing brands $44 billion globally every year to produce consumer insights that are often woefully out-of-date by the time they are delivered.

“Streetbees has fundamentally changed the way international companies can engage and understand their global consumer base.”

The funding will also allow Streetbees, which currently employs 75 people at its London headquarters and in 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.

Robin Klein, general partner at LocalGlobe, said: “As investors who have been involved with Streetbees from the start of its journey, we’ve long been impressed by the founding team.

“The spread of smartphones, combined with advances in AI that allow data to be captured at scale, create a unique opportunity for a smart company to help brands understand their customers on a much deeper level – and that’s exactly what Streetbees is doing.”

Streetbees’ mission is to make human data accessible, anywhere in the world. Through 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.

Bulut added: “Streetbees captures the detail within people’s lives at scale and analyses it, helping companies both understand the bigger picture and act like an innovative start-up that has intimate knowledge of local markets.”

“Companies fail to invest in the developing world time and again because they don’t understand the market, as they either can’t find the information they need, or they don’t trust what they have.

“By giving them a far better solution that provides local detail and real insight into what people across the world do and why, Streetbees can enable major investment in nations where it might otherwise not occur - potentially fuelling economic growth where it is needed most.”

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