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Springleap Aims To Rethink Marketing Research With New Backing From Cross Border Angels


Prodjex
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Springleap says it can help marketers improve their ad campaigns by tapping into a global community of 180,000 creative professionals.

To pursue that vision, the company is announcing that it has raised an additional $650,000 in seed funding, bringing its total backing to around $1.1 million. I got on the phone with founder Eran Eyal partly to discuss the funding, but more to discuss the bigger vision here.

When we wrote about Springleap back in November, we focused on its tools for holding crowdsourced design contests. Eyal said Springleap will still support those contests, but they aren’t what he’s focused on moving forward.

“If you’re just doing design competitions, it’s not good for creatives, it’s not changing the game,” he said. The company’s new push into research on the other hand, is “giving creatives money in their pocket on a regular basis for their insights.”

Basically, Springleap is offering an alternative to “consumer panels,” where marketers gather data about consumer behaviors and attitudes by asking those consumers directly. Eyal argued that those panels are deeply flawed, because they don’t give the marketer “actionable insights.” Put another way, knowing how someone feels about a product doesn’t always help you craft the right message to sell that product to them.

Instead, Springleap connects customers with what Eyal calls “creative panels,” namely small group of creative professionals chosen from its network to help brands understand local trends (it sounds like a lot of this is about helping marketers understand new markets and geographies), and improve their ads and social media strategy.

Consumers panels aren’t something I’m particularly familiar with, but even so, when Eyal described Springleap’s approach to research, I was a bit puzzled — isn’t that basically just asking people for advice? And with just a handful of people in a given panel, isn’t there a risk that personal taste and bias will play a role?

Eyal countered that what the company is really doing is tapping into the collective knowledge and expertise of these professionals: “The first thing you’ve got to remember is that we aren’t just working from sentiment alone. We’re talking about brand strategists — they’re looking every single day at what is and what’s not working for other clients, and they go beyond sentiment because that’s their job on an everyday basis.”

He also described the product as a “TaskRabbit for research” that connects marketers with “the right people in the right location.” As for the creative pros, they can make between $40 and $350 an hour, based on experience and market. You can visit Springleap’s website toread more about some of the company’s research success stories for brands like Adidas.

The company started in South Africa, but Eyal is now based in New York City and looking to expand in the United States. As for the funding, it was led by Cross Border Angels, the investment arm of Scaale Group. Manager Mandar Gadkari explained that CBA functions largely as an investment network, with the funding coming from its members, but CBA occasionally raises its own small funds to make an investment itself — as it did here.

Gadkari suggested that Springleap was worth backing because beyond the US, there’s a big opportunity in emerging markets.

“We’re bringing Springleap to Singapore; we’re bringing Springleap to India,” he said.

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