Black Swan Data – a data science and consumer behaviour prediction company – has closed a £15.3 million growth fundraise.
Led by VC Oxx with participation from existing investor AlbionVC, the funding will be invested in developing more advanced features and capabilities in Trendscope, Black Swan’s core software platform, and continuing expansion in the US market.
Philip Edmondson-Jones, principal at Oxx, will join the company’s board.
Claiming to predict consumer needs and trends with 89% accuracy rating more than six months into the future, Trendscope enables consumer packaged goods companies to develop more relevant innovation ideas and improve their new product launch success rates.
Trendscope works by tapping into what millions of consumers are talking about online in public, unpromoted conversations. It continuously analyses this data to map growth opportunities and identify emerging trend signals earlier, and more accurately, than traditional market research approaches.
This capability is bringing a more scientific and comprehensive approach to the new product innovation process, helping brands to de-risk decision making in uncertain times when consumer behaviour is rapidly shifting.
Black Swan’s customers include Danone, Cosnova, J&J, Kraft Heinz, P&G and PepsiCo.
Black Swan has grown subscription revenues by more than 100% in each of the last three years, and doubled its client base in the last 12 months.
Steve King, CEO and co-founder, said: “Over the last two years the market research industry has been turned upside down and legacy methods that CPG companies have stuck with for decades became unviable, literally overnight.
“Believe me, more than anyone, we realise the irony of not predicting that particular black swan event, but the adoption of AI-driven observational research and predictive analytics has accelerated dramatically and this is reflected in the growth of our business.
“This latest round of funding will allow us to build upon the growth of the last year and significantly invest in our core product, Trendscope, bringing customers new features and usability that enable them to create reliably relevant new products and shape a modern marketing innovation process for the future, particularly at a time when brands need a cost-effective way of continuous product innovation.”
Stephan Gans, SVP, chief consumer insights and analytics officer at PepsiCo, explains how the technology is used.
“At PepsiCo, Trendscope has been instrumental in the development of new products and staying ahead of mainstream consumer preferences by monitoring data from Twitter, Reddit, and other online sources.
“During the pandemic, for example, we saw an increase in conversations and posts about seltzer makers and new flavours in lieu of consumers being able to consume their favourite beverages out of the home.
“This insight helped PepsiCo prioritise and fast-track the development of new products like Bubly Drops to take advantage of this growing territory.
“Trendscope better enables us to see our categories through the eyes of the consumer and to isolate the emerging trends that will matter tomorrow, versus those that will quickly fade away.”