Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Startups Stories - Chaordix

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If you haven’t heard of crowdsourcing yet, seriously, I’d think you’ve wasted your time living under a rock. Okay, so maybe that was harsh. Let me back down a bit here. Crowdsourcing, if you honestly don’t know and are not pulling my leg, is the process of involving a crowd (Internet users) to complete certain tasks. That’s talking PickyDomains for naming, 99designs for designing or IdeaBounty for ideas pitched to corporations (and hey, they pay top dollar for the winning ideas). There are a lot more out there. Yes, a LOT.

One startup that has been in the crowdsourcing space since 2009 is Chaordix. Chaordix uses the power of the crowd for market research and insights it provides to its clientele, which include powerhouse brands like Procter & Gamble, American Airlines, Reckitt Benckiser and IBM. These brands use Chaordix’s Market Intelligence Platform to connect and engage with customers, build brand loyalty and innovation and drive market research.

Shelley Kuipers, Chaordix’s founder and CEO, narrates that Chaordix was spun out of a previous startup, Cambrian House. Shelley, along with her colleagues at Cambrian House, has seen the traditional way of doing things – broadcast advertising, focus groups, etc. – and asserts that participation is now the new brand experience. Customers love to participate, so that if you’re a brand and you lack an engaging and lively forum that customers can participate in, you’re most definitely lagging behind.

In 2009, Shelley and her team entered the crowdsourcing market a little too early. The business model generated a lot of interest, but instead of doing transactions, for the first 12 to 18 months, they were educating the market. At the moment, they are in the early adopters phase and have come to a point where the masses are finding them without any advertising.

When asked which was more difficult, to attract top talent or to raise capital, Shelley answered by saying she was fortunate to have attracted the right people and was more successful with that over raising capital. While the road to becoming investment grade had been challenging, it was a rewarding experience.

Chaordix has recently secured $1.5 million in Series A venture capital funding spearheaded by Yaletown Venture Partners and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). Chaordix also has secured a partnership with KPMG UK on a new product that will be available online and via mobile.

[Via - BusinessWeek.com]

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