Potloc, a startup that conducts market research using geo-targeted surveys, has announced its $13 million CAD Series A funding round.
Headquartered in Montreal, Potloc touts itself as a consumer research firm that is looking to bring innovation to the industry. The Series A capital is meant to help support the startup as it pursues its mission of changing market research globally. Potloc currently has offices in Montreal and Toronto, as well as Paris, France and Geneva, Switzerland.
“We provide consumer insights traditional research methods struggle to obtain.” – Rodolphe Barrere, Potloc
The $13 million round, announced on Thursday, originally closed in July. The funding brought Potloc’s total funding raised to date to more than $17 million CAD. Potloc’s Series A was led by Brightspark Ventures and Investissement Quebec, with participation from return investors Fonds Ecofuel, Cap Horn, and Desjardins Capital.
The capital is being used to help Potloc enter new markets, including the northern US, UK, and parts of western Europe. Potloc is also using the funding to further develop its artificial intelligence capabilities, allowing for better retention and acquisition of survey respondents, as well as data analysis.
“We are revamping our marketing processes to scale up our operation across two continents, increasing our presence at key industry events, and mapping our customers’ journeys to capture more business,” Rodolphe Barrere, co-founder and CEO at Potloc, told BetaKit.
Since closing the round in July, Potloc has grown its sales team within Canada and the US in order to meet its territory expansion goals. The startup is also in the process of hiring for its European team. The startup told BetaKit it is in the middle of bringing on 30 new employees across its entire team.
Founded in 2014, Potloc help retailers get a better sense of consumer shopping habits in certain neighbourhoods by conducting geo-targeted surveys through social networks. Barrere previously told BetaKit that the company can track insights from 1,000 people within a one-kilometre radius, compared to the industry standard of doing phone calls across a wider region.
Traditionally, Potloc has worked within verticals that include shopping mall operators, commercial real estate, municipalities, and brands. It currently names amongst its customers, large names brands including L’Oréal, Cadillac Fairview, Loblaws, and Cushman-Wakefield. As part of the funding round, Potloc is also looking to expand its reach by moving in new verticals that include grocery chains, consumer packaged goods (CPG), financial institutions, and research firms.
The startup claims to be changing the way CPG brands, retailers, and real estate developers “make customer-centric business decisions.”
“Potloc is a Québec company operating in a promising niche, which also has real potential to succeed internationally.”
“Potloc’s key differentiator [is] allowing our clients to access insights, data, and purchasing habits other survey methods like web panels and phone surveys have failed to provide,” said Potloc co-founder and COO Louis Delaoustre. “Instead of a general overview of an audience, our clients can understand why consumer groups behave certain ways, such as women in their 30’s in Toronto who own electric bikes and live in Yorkville.”
The Montreal-based startup offers what it calls non-incentivized surveys that consumers want to respond to, at a lower cost than traditional methods like web and phone interviews. Potloc provides its clients with customer data to help them increase revenue and improve customer experiences. It sources survey respondents through social networks, using those platform’s tools to target specific trade areas, cities, countries, or interests.
“We provide consumer insights traditional research methods struggle to obtain,” Barrere told Betait. “As most methods have failed to evolve to the modern consumer behaviors, Potloc brings a fresh methodology, where we can reach any audience or demographic through the social channels they trust, at the times they are ready and willing to answer, with no monetary incentive.”
Jacques Perreault, senior partner at Brightspark Ventures, stated that the fund had kept on eye on Potloc since it was founded and has been impressed with its founders. Perreault added that he is confident in the company and founders’ ability to disrupt the way businesses connect with consumers.
“Potloc is a Québec company operating in a promising niche, which also has real potential to succeed internationally,” said Guy LeBlanc, president and CEO of Investissement Québec.
Barrere added that Potloc is “thrilled” to be working with its current investors, noting an “aggressive” strategy plan to triple the company’s growth in coming years.