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Atheneum nabs $150M to construct out its ‘analysis as a service’ platform for digital surveys and interviews

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Knowledge is the brand new oil, because the saying goes, and right now a startup that’s serving to firms mine for it’s asserting a significant funding spherical to increase its enterprise on the again of sturdy development.

Atheneum, which gives a platform for firms to conduct and analyze analysis sourced via digital interviews and surveys with stakeholders (that’s, analysis options that embody qualitative skilled consultations, quantitative surveys and massive information merchandise to parse the outcomes), has closed $150 million in funding.

CEO Mathias Wengeler stated it plans to make use of the funds to proceed increasing geographically, hiring extra folks for its groups and constructing out its know-how. At present Atheneum is utilized by some 500 massive enterprises — with prospects spanning verticals like life sciences, strategic consulting corporations, funding companies and telecoms, media and tech corporations — overlaying a community of some 680,000 specialists and so-called opinion leaders and a whole lot of 1000’s of surveys and interviews.

The startup was based in Berlin slightly over a decade in the past and now has a second base in New York, and notably, it’s already worthwhile. This funding — led by Guidepost Development Fairness with participation from unnamed restricted companions; present buyers Crosslantic Capital Administration, Michael Brehm and Vogel Communications Group; and Atheneum’s founding administration staff — thus is coming opportunistically to leap on what has been sturdy development for the startup, particularly within the final yr: in 2020 the corporate grew practically 50%, Wengeler stated, and this yr development has bumped as much as 80%.

Atheneum’s development is approaching the again of two traits on the earth of enterprise.

The primary is a much bigger shift to digital transformation that we’ve been witnessing, spurred by the enforced distant working practices that got here out of COVID-19. Particularly, firms want instruments to allow them to proceed finishing up work in additional virtualised codecs, and Atheneum has created a framework for people who have sometimes sourced information via dwell interactions to maintain doing that utilizing instruments like Zoom, on-line surveys and cloud-based analytics to “learn” and higher perceive all of the ensuing information.

The second development is that firms making strategic selections based mostly on information and suggestions from the sector are more and more desirous to faucet into improvements in information science and know-how total to extend their entry to extra information and insights.

This second development has been rising for years and predates the pandemic, which can also be one of many causes buyers have been knocking: these are traits that transcend circumstantial ones which may evolve when/if we return to our extra conventional work patterns. Wengeler and his co-founders Ammad Ahmad and Marta Margolis (pictured above) all beforehand labored in administration consulting, and Wengeler stated that he was moved to start out Atheneum to extra immediately handle that chance.

“Main and uncooked information have been on the market already,” he stated, “however their significance is growing. What a physician sees [firsthand] has a significant affect on how a pharmaceutical firm plans its technique for commercialization and extra, and that’s completely different in each nation. I felt that the world was getting extra internationalized and we wanted extra uncooked information, we wanted extra market analysis. We see Atheneum as a platform for information, based mostly on being a one-stop store for major analysis.”

Roshen Menon, who led the funding for Guidepost, additionally notes that can also be a mirrored image of how firms themselves have advanced to construct extra specialised merchandise.

“I feel the basic shift has been from a reliance on secondary to major analysis,” he stated. “Firms need to do their analysis immediately. The second shift within the broader analysis tech house has the lengthy and broad analysis strategy. Issues have gotten extra specialised. ‘Let’s take a survey and perceive this particular drawback.’

“In life sciences, now we have seen a shift from blockbuster medication to specialised analysis and medication and coverings for so-called orphan ailments. And there may be way more of that throughout all industries. Companies like Atheneum’s actually permit prospects to get entry and insights from a sea of knowledge.”

On high of this, presenting this platform as a SaaS-style cloud service, which mixes each know-how and human interplay to higher tailor it to the wants of the shoppers as wanted — and naturally alongside the people who’re offering the uncooked information within the first place — matches in with how quite a lot of companies need to have interaction with know-how and IT companies lately.

That can imply an growing variety of opponents to Atheneum that can be seeking to leverage their very own attain and instruments to dive deeper into the “research-as-a-service” house. That would embody extra exercise from survey and direct advertising firms like SurveyMonkey or Mailchimp, and even firms like Salesforce or Microsoft’s LinkedIn that need to construct an ever-bigger set of instruments to assist folks do enterprise extra effectively.

And even firms like Google, which thus far have centered surveys extra on shopper responses which are bought as promoting models (you will have come throughout these on websites like YouTube), however clearly have an enormous alternative to construct extra cloud-based companies to cater to their rising roster of enterprise prospects which may higher leverage their in-house massive information and AI capabilities. Wengeler stated that thus far, LinkedIn has been one of many extra energetic and attention-grabbing gamers in constructing new instruments which may most immediately compete with what it builds.

It’s nonetheless an enormous alternative: Atheneum cites figures from Deloitte that estimate the info and intelligence market is price some $22 billion presently.

Atheneum, partly on account of elevating comparatively little cash beforehand and partly a results of focusing simply on its development and shopper enterprise, has been considerably below the radar till now. To that finish, it’s not disclosing its valuation right now. However as an indicator of the place it may be, Wengeler confirmed that the startup had raised lower than $20 million beforehand, and that this newest funding offers new backers a minority stake with the founders remaining the most important shareholders within the firm.

Menon, who’s taking a board seat with this spherical, added in an interview that Atheneum is making “nicely north” of $50 million in income yearly.

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