Move over basic customer surveys, EnquireLabs wants to bring speed and scale to zero-party data, which is just a fancy way of saying data that customers give directly to brands.
CEO Matt Bahr and Curt Hasselschwert got the idea for the company in 2018 while helping e-commerce brands solve marketing attrition through “how did you hear about us?” questions after the customer made a purchase.
They spent the next two years with EnquireLabs as a side project, but when they started seeing e-commerce brands take a look at their reliance on third-party data, particularly with internet cookies, they started to see some traction.
“I think people were just getting super hungry for data,” Bahr told TC. “Historically, brands that we work with were so reliant on Facebook that they didn’t necessarily need to know their customer too well because Facebook would just go find them that ideal customer profile. In getting rid of third-party cookies, Apple essentially made it much more difficult for brands to attract conversions and make this kind of post-flywheel work.”
That’s when Bahr and Hasselschwert started focusing on customer attrition. In 2021, the New York-based company raised a little less than half a million dollars to scale its technology around allowing customers to ask multiple questions.
What they began building turned into the Question Stream product, which includes a chronological campaign of questions, each served through programmable rules and context along the customer journey.
EnquireLabs’ question engine decides when questions get asked based on variables. The technology knows who to query from unique identifier data based on information like email or phone number. This is a big focus of R&D for the company and one of the drivers for it to eventually go beyond commerce into different verticals.
As Bahr described it, EnquireLabs is uncoupling questions from each other so they can be asked over time, post-purchase. This is where he says the differentiator is between his company and the incumbents, like Momentive/SurveyMonkey or Typeform, which focus more on the research space, while EnquireLabs is focused on how to put the data to use in real time. Typeform recently took in $135 million in new funding for its “conversational data collection” approach.
The company is working with about 2,000 brands, including Allbirds, Figs and Skims, and captured just over 30 million responses last year, and survey completion rates are over 50%, which Bahr said was another differentiator from EnquireLabs’ peers, where the average response is 10%.
When asked how the company was able to get that kind of response, Bahr explained that the main reason is EnquireLabs is providing context with the questions being asked, which leads to a level of personalization.
“Based on our data, we know who hates answering certain types of questions, so we’re not going to ask those types of questions because we know they are not going to ever reply,” he added. “The idea is to build from the ground up who the customer is first and what we want to learn from them. This is different from the research side where they are looking at what the problems are and then who is the customer.”
Those responses are funneled into insights that customers can access from their dashboard and can use those insights in their existing marketing stack to send out unique emails that better highlight the brand.
Previously available exclusively to Shopify brands, EnquireLabs began receiving inbound requests from new verticals, like mobile apps, insurance and fintech, so it has now launched its software development kit beta program to expand into new verticals, buoyed by $4.5 million in seed funding.
The round was led by True Ventures, with participation from V1.VC, FiDi Ventures, Hawke Ventures, Silicon Ventures and a group of angel investors that includes the founders of Chubbies, Ted Wang, Harris Barton, Daphne Carmeli and Casey Armstrong.
Bahr expects to deploy the majority of funds into hiring, mainly to expand the engineering and product sides of the organization. EnquireLabs had been a lean team of two before last July, and having doubled its revenue over the last 12 months, Bahr said he is ready to “put some gas on the fire.”
“Given the volume we’re doing, we’re very excited to expand the engineering side of the business and to continue to innovate in that area,” he added. “Our roadmap extends way beyond a year as far as what we want to do with Question Stream. In addition, the more powerful our internal question engine gets, the better. That’s definitely our focus over the next year.”