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OpenOcean’s investment in Cambri

  • automation
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  • MarTech
  • software

In our increasingly data-driven world, it’s amazing to learn that launching a physical consumer product is a bit like playing roulette. In fact, your odds are even worse: Harvard Business School observed that 30,000 consumer products are launched every year in the US, and 95% of them fail. Only 3% of consumer packaged goods exceed first-year sales of $50 million, even when they’re developed and promoted by globally-recognized brands.

What makes these statistics even more astonishing is that these very same consumer goods companies spend nearly $50 billion on market research every year. Of that, around $43 billion is spent on market research agencies and consultancies, and just $5 billion on market research software, according to ESOMAR.

If so much money is being invested in understanding customers’ needs and wants, why are so few products successful? A key reason could be that most market research is simply left too late or not done iteratively enough during the product development cycle.

Heli Holttinen and her team at Finnish Cambri have a great answer: Introduce market research earlier and throughout the innovation process, putting market research on autopilot through software automation. Using conventional research methods, this would be egregiously expensive and unscalable: Market research consultants that write up scientific research studies with standard survey software, assemble the right respondents, and return an acutely analytical assessment of the innovation can take weeks and cost upwards of six-figures.

Cambri’s market research automation platform enables companies to test their ideas continuously, as they are iterating their innovations. The platform combines academically-proven research methods with an intuitive and visual UX so that any member of the innovation, product or marketing teams can use it (rather than only market research teams, who typically lead the process today). It’s essentially a senior research professional delivered as an automated software platform, integrating with major survey panel providers, and letting you bring your own customers to the survey.

It’s also uniquely visual in the market research automation space, enabling consumer brands to test visual brand elements, including product and packaging designs, and to tag retail images in order to assess the findability and visibility of their products. This allows Cambri to show consumer companies detailed heat-maps and visual analytics of how customers look at their products, providing a much more scientific study of consumer behavior and their propensity to purchase items in real-world situations.

Heli has effectively packaged all of her career experience into Cambri: With a PhD in management and marketing and a background at Accenture, agencies, and more, she ran her own market research consultancy before recognizing that much of the scientific survey design work she was doing could be democratized with the right software platform. Her co-founder, Outi Somervuori, has a PhD herself from Aalto University, and has lectured on related topics at Stanford.

Cambri’s early growth has been demonstrative of the market’s need for this product. With global clients representing a who’s-who of fast-moving consumer brands, they grew revenue rapidly through 2020, which saw a decrease in spending on market research as a whole (it was, after all, 2020).

Speaking to these clients, it was clear that Cambri’s speed and cost-efficiency was a step-change in their approach to market research, infusing their innovation process with consistent commentary from the very customers they were trying to reach. The change was stark: A small startup had rewired a centuries-old corporation’s innovation process, and this was the reaction time and again, from each client we interviewed. The exciting product roadmap is geared towards the same fundamental mission: Allowing companies to test ideas even more frequently — getting insights and recommendations as instantaneously as possible.

After speaking with Heli and her team for a couple of months, understanding the clients’ pain-points and the way that Cambri had reshaped their thinking about market research, we are privileged to invest in this future leader of automated market research. 

We are leading a €3.6 million Series A round with participation from Spintop Ventures and angel investors. We’re also thrilled that Lynda Clarizio, former President of market research behemoth Nielsen, and one of the top Marketing Tech executives and advisors in the US, will be joining the board of directors to help Cambri on their journey to transform market research.

We excitedly look forward to seeing how Cambri’s approach and stellar team will drive down the number of consumer products that fail every year, and help consumers get exactly the products they’re looking for!

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