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UserLeap, a platform for AI-powered, continuous research for product teams, today announced that it raised $38 million in a series B round contributed by a16z. The company says it’ll put the funding toward product R&D and customer acquisition, as well as global expansion efforts.
The user experience monitoring market is large and growing, and its value is expected to climb from $1.5 billion in 2019 to $3.7 billion by 2023, according to Markets and Markets. That may be because every dollar invested in user experience is estimated to net a $100 return, a 9,900% return on investment. Forrester Research reports that frictionless user experience design can raise customer conversion rates by up to 400%.
Through a combination of contextual “microsurveys,” AI-based text analysis, and over 75 research templates, UserLeap is designed to help R&D teams understand their audience, improve their product, build their roadmap, and solve complex business problems. Kevin Mandich and Ryan Glasgow cofounded the company in 2018, which has offices in San Francisco, California.
Prior to starting UserLeap, Glasgow was an early team member at Weebly, which was acquired by Square in 2018 for $365 million, and Vurb, which Snapchat purchased in 2016 for over $110 million. While at Weebly, Glasgow says he realized how difficult it was to obtain rich customer insights from a user base quickly enough to meet the fast pace of agile product development. He yearned for a tool that would give him a pulse on the user experience, an idea that led him to start UserLeap, which he describes as an “always-on” research platform.
UserLeap’s AI analyzes open-text responses in real time, which are then reviewed by researchers, who aim to figure out why users aren’t converting or what’s causing churn. The platform collects insights with SDKs for web and native iOS and Android apps, with email and shareable link microsurveys triggered via action or inaction or manually via a dashboard. Microsurveys can be targeted to specific groups, and events can be imported in from existing dev tools.
“UserLeap’s [machine learning (ML)] is key for allowing companies to analyze qualitative data at scale,” Glasgow told VentureBeat via email. “Every ML application we’ve built is designed to increase the leverage of project managers and researchers. Our thematic clustering algorithm automates the process of grouping survey responses into actionable themes, a task that can take hours or days of sorting manually in a spreadsheet. Our emotional response and topic extraction applications provide another way of transforming qualitative data into quantitative data. This allows our customers to track nuanced trends in qualitative experience data, something that was not possible before UserLeap.”
Glasgow says that UserLeap’s models are trained on millions of distinct data points that are continuously fine-tuned as more data becomes available. The training datasets are populated from both external and internal sources, and Glasgow claims that human experts review a subset of all model predictions to ensure high-quality data, which are fed back into the models for further training.
Research shows that buyers favor brands with personalized, digital self-service. For example, eMarketer found U.S. consumers are 370% more likely to purchase from a company with “very good” customer experiences than “very poor.” And quality customer experiences are likely to become more important as the pandemic accelerates digital transformations. In fact, Forrester predicts digital customer service interactions will increase by 40% this year.
Forty-employee UserLeap’s customers include Square, Opendoor, and Dropbox. And despite competition from SurveyMonkey, TypeForm, UserZoom, Airkit, and others, the company — which grew 300% in the first five months of 2021 — claims that its platform has tracked over 500 million visitors, captured more than 600,000 responses, and recorded more than 4 billion events.
“There are certainly tools out there … that allow you to send an email survey a few days after a customer has interacted with a product, to track where a user clicks in an app or website, or to try and pull a rating from a customer. However, UserLeap is the only platform that combines the native microsurveys with sophisticated targeting and segmentation, and actionable theme analysis, enabling product research to move at the speed of product teams themselves,” Glasgow said. “As product teams work through their development cycles and ship new products, it has been even more critical to deeply understand why customers may be taking certain actions, or not converting, or dropping off entirely so they can iterate quickly and adapt to our new [pandemic] reality.”
This latest round of fundraising brings UserLeap’s total raised to date to over $60 million. First Round also participated. Previously, UserLeap closed a $20 million series A led by Accel.
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