Local startup Qualie disrupts market research

| 07.2017

Luminaries of the Australian research scene, Rob Marjenberg and Ainslie Williams (pictured above), have launched an online platform designed to make qualitative insight fast and affordable.

First published by B&T Magazine - 28 July 2017

Qualie.com combines the art of qualitative techniques with the rigour of quantitative numbers to deliver what it calls the “compelling consensus” on any proposition being tested.

Marjenberg said that while big blue chip marketers regularly use qualitative research, its price point is too steep and timelines too slow for even mid-tier marketers.

“There wasn’t another option available until now,” he said. “Smaller clients would use gut feel or maybe do a SurveyMonkey poll. Even big marketers would only use qual sparingly because it was so cost prohibitive.

“We didn’t want to see the magic of qual disappear from the marketing landscape, so we did something about it.”

In 2016, Marjenberg and Williams began a series of conversations about where the power of qualitative research comes from.

“We broke it down and re-engineered it to be more agile without losing the magical human element of qual,” Williams said.

“We took the knowledge we’d acquired from running literally thousands of focus groups and teamed up with our tech co-founders to build a platform that delivers rich insight efficiently and scalably.”

As the idea developed momentum, the pair turned to analytics and tech industry guru Adir Shiffman, executive chairman of Catapult Sports, for guidance. Shiffman also introduced them to Steve Ford, a successful start-up technologist with a previous successful exit, who would become Qualie’s founding chief technology officer.

“Adir and Steve turned our idea into a business and a process,” Williams said.

“Building Qualie as a robust and smart technology platform delivers scalability and a completely different cost structure. We can do projects for a fraction of the cost of traditional qual, and in a fraction of the time.”

And the introductions have paid off. Qualie.com raised $750,000 seed in April this year from a group of high-profile Australian investors including Catapult co-founder Shaun Holthouse, ex-Xero CEO Chris Ridd, Unlockd founder and CEO Matt Berriman, Tel Aviv-based Crown Group executive Danny Frishman, Outware Mobile co-founder and CEO Danny Gorog, and EM Advisory founder Natasha Mandie.

Williams noted that Qualie is in pre-release with a group of beta clients – a mix of multinational marketers, international clients and smaller start-ups keen to use qualitative research more often.

“The one thing they have in common is they’re looking to be more innovative with their insight, so it feels like a very natural fit,” she said.

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