Product research usually involves determining whether a new product idea can be successful and how best to develop and market that product. Theoretically, this is a simple process, but the basic definition belies the barriers that can arise. Research is often expensive – software-as-a-service companies spend rated For example, 23% of their income is from R&D – and there is no guarantee that this will lead to a successful result. Forty-two percent of companies in a recent CB Insights study interview they cited a lack of market demand as the reason one of their products didn’t catch on.
The risky nature of product research prompted Jonathan Widavsky and Thomas Mary, software developers, to launch labyrinth, a software research platform that facilitates testing and questioning prototypes. Unlike some of the platforms on the market, Widavsky and Mary emphasize that Maze was designed with entire development teams in mind, not just traditional user researchers with specialized expertise.
Maze is Widavsky’s second venture after Pin.gg, a privacy-focused video game messaging service. Prior to founding Pin.gg and Maze, Widavsky was a user experience consultant and project manager for Archibald & Abraham, an audio/video communications and production agency.
“Creating a user experience is always a risk. And the riskier the decision, the more data we need for a complete fix. However, validating ideas and getting actionable, measurable user insights for confident decision making isn’t easy, especially before you have a working product or website,” Vidavsky told TechCrunch in an email interview. “Maze began with the belief that product development teams should have easy access to data during the design phase. Since then, we’ve evolved our vision to empower every member of the development team to test, learn, and act quickly.”
Like other product research platforms, Maze allows development teams to observe how users interact with a product and generate reports. With Maze, team members can use tools like Adobe XD and Sketch to design product quizzes and surveys, and then create shared quiz links for member registration.
Maze recently launched Reach, a tool that allows clients to create a database of study participants, email studies, and collect the resulting data. Another new feature, Clips, allows you to capture videos and screen recordings of people testing the product.
There are many user research tools out there like UserLeap, Airkit, and even SurveyMonkey. One of them – UserZoom – raised $100 million last year, which confirms the high competitiveness of this space. This is because there is probably some truth to vendors’ claims that product research, no matter how complex, can prevent costly mistakes in the future. According to the consulting company Strategic Data Consulting studyInvestments in user experience made during the conceptual stage of a product can shorten development cycles by 33-50%.
So what makes Maze different besides supposedly ease of use? Growth, Vidavsky said. While refusing to disclose earnings figures, he revealed that more than 60,000 brands currently use Maze, including Hertz, Sony, Fidelity Investments, BNY Mellon and Nubank.
“During the pandemic, the need for unmoderated and remote research increased because teams could no longer easily conduct moderated in-person research. This change in circumstances meant product teams needed new solutions to fit this new way of working. As a consequence, Maze grew 6 times during the pandemic,” Widavsky said. “Maze gives development teams the ability to quickly capture user insights prior to development, reducing the risk of releasing products and features that are not data-driven… Maze is uniquely positioned to enable companies to do additional product research as well as to democratize that product research. in the wider product team.”
Laying a runway for growth, Maze today closed a $40 million Series B round led by Felicis with participation from Emergence, Amplify, Partech, Seedcamp, Atlassian Ventures, Zoom and HubSpot Ventures. (Vidawsky said Atlassian and Zoom are strategic investors.) The new cash brings the total raised to $60 million, and Vidawsky says it will be used to develop new solutions that will “help solve new use cases” in development. product. process.
“We plan to invest in new product solutions, workflow integration and more advanced features to help democratize product research in large organizations,” Widavsky said. “We will continue to expand our teams to focus on improving our core product as well as expanding to new use cases throughout the product development process and ultimately help streamline product research workflows.”
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