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Meet Attest: the British startup bringing SaaS to the market research industry

Scott Carey | July 1, 2016
Market research is the latest multi-billion dollar industry that is ripe for disruption. British startup Attest thinks it has the formula to knock the incumbent players off of their perch.

You can then watch the results as they come in starting with the first respondent. You can download the results to an Excel or feed it into your downstream analytics or BI tools and share with colleagues. Attest only charges per completed response, at a flat rate of £0.25 per response.


One of the key differentiators for Attest is accessing the sort of respondents that brands want to hear from. Namely: younger, affluent people.

"The dark secret of the industry is that most research comes from two places: people that love doing surveys and are happy to do it in terrible conditions, or people that have a lot of spare time on their hands," says King.

"But if you are Fever Tree, or Waitrose or Ocado or British Airways, or any of the more premium brands, you focus on segments that don't have a lot of time on their hands. So it is not very useful to you. They are very aware of that and until now they haven't had a choice."

Attest sources respondents by advertising to them and relying on word of mouth recruitment from existing members. It incentivised respondents with good old-fashioned cash and by building a simple interface that allows for surveys to be completed "in two minutes in a coffee queue, five minutes on a bus, half an hour on your commute," says King.

"Our entire business is built around the respondents and the ability to get the higher value respondents, the more affluent and more valuable people that don't tend to do research."

The tech

The attest platform is built using Java and Scala on the open-source PostgreSQL database. King says they use a micro-services approach and that the transaction engine is the "secret sauce."

He says the key for the platform is: "Customising the targeting on the way in and showing it only to the selected people and feeding the results back, in real time so that companies can react in real time. That's the really tricky part."

The man behind the tech is COO Tony Hunter, who used to build equity derivative trading systems at Morgan Stanley. Jeremy King says Attest needs to be: "Kind of London Stock Exchange meets Amazon. It's the London Stock Exchange bit that is really valuable for us, that is the tech that our investors invested in."

Fever Tree case study

Alex Rees, head of growth at Attest, says that one of its early customers, premium tonic water brand Fever Tree, uses the platform to pre-screen adverts.

This came after the company had a "face-palm" moment when customer feedback said one advert looked like it was for beer. "It's a great tool to pass your adverts by your audience before you spend loads of money," says Rees. "Media costs are only going one way at the moment, especially with the things that are proven to work like Facebook and PPC costs becoming more competitive than ever."


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