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Startup Brings Crowdfunding To Market Research Industry




Insight Innovation Competition participant Collaborata, which bills itself as “the market-research marketplace,” launches in Beta this week, bringing crowdfunding to the market-research business. The online platform enables research clients to connect with each other to shape projects and share research insights and costs.

We don’t normally showcase Competition participants during the voting phase, but are making an exception in this case due to a happy accident; so far there are only 4 companies participating in this round when normally we have 15-20, so all of the companies in the competition right now are guaranteed to make it to the judging round in Atlanta. Since they are launching their beta version at the same time as the Competition, and it’s an undeniably cool idea, we think it’s OK to make the industry aware of this new offering.

A big problem for many organizations, according to Collaborata Co-Founder Jimmy Zollo, is that too often those research projects that could make a big difference to a brand’s growth go unfunded, while companies often replicate each other’s research. Collaborata aims to bring together clients who have similar research needs to collaborate on projects, while sharing the cost. “Think of Collaborata as a Kickstarter for the market-research industry with a little Yelp thrown in. We’re a marketplace that’s about co-funding and collaborating on new research and insights projects,” added Zollo.

Clients post projects to the site that they’d like to see executed. Other clients help shape the projects through their comments. Research suppliers, who are rated on the site by clients, bid on those projects using a specially designed “wizard.” Once a vendor is selected, a funding goal is established together with a timeline and co-funding begins. Zollo says that money only trades hands once a project fully funds. He adds that research suppliers may also team directly with a client to pitch a study to other clients, or leverage Collaborata to market their own multi-client project.

Zollo was most recently at GrubHub, one of Chicago’s most successful tech startups. His Collaborata co-founder is his father Peter Zollo, founder and former CEO of TRU, a leader in youth research and insights, which was acquired by WPP and Kantar in 2012.

Peter Zollo said, “I look at Collaborata as a timely solution to getting more out of research budgets, by enabling the funding of those macro-level projects that are often the ones whose insights can be truly transformational.” He added, “Whereas the market-research industry continues to innovate in how it collects and analyzes data, the business of how research is transacted lacks innovation and collaboration. That’s what Collaborata aims to change.”

Zollo, who spent his career studying each new youth generation and helping clients tailor their offering to the current cohort, said, “If I’m a Millennial who’s a research client, I want to be able to buy research in an active, open marketplace, just like I buy travel or other goods and services. Collaborata, in many ways, is geared to today’s research client.”

Collaborata is a Chicago-based startup and the city’s first B-to-B new tech company that focuses on the marketing-research industry.

To find out more about Collaborata and the other innovative entrants in the IIeX Competition, click here.

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