6.5 million euros ($7.2 million) was raised by a start-BeMyEye up and announcement for an acquisition was made as it eyes international expansion. BeMyEye crowdsources people to carry out mystery shopping and data collection tasks for major brands like Coca Cola in exchange for money.
Every large company or corporation or brands like Nestle and Samsung, to name a couple, need to have business data. Such data includes the finding out if stores are stocking their products properly, how they are being promoted and where they are being placed against their competitors. However this can be very difficult for very large global companies whose products could be in hundreds of stores across the world.
This is the area where the five-year-old Italian firm has made its entry. The members of BeMyEye are rewarded with money by large companies for going around and take pictures of their products in certain shops or even the outside of store fronts for services like the Yellow Pages. The Brands and companies send requests to these members through the website.
Users – who are known as “eyes” can choose whether to accept a job or not after they are notified when a job pops up in their area.
The growing “gig economy” – short-term jobs brought about by on-demand and marketplace apps such as Uber are the driving force for BeMyEye.
Gian Luca Petrelli while he was working for his family’s olive oil business had founded the company. He was unable to see how a promotional agreement that he had signed with Whole Foods in the U.S. for his product was being implemented. This deficiency caught his fancy and he developed the idea of BeMyEye.
The company became the biggest European player in the mobile data crowdsourcing space after it announced it had acquired rival LocalEyes apart from raising the 6.5 million euro funding.
Product development, growing the team, sales and marketing to grow the user base, and international expansion are the areas that the company is looking to invets the money is which came from Nauta Capital, P101 and previous investors, including 360 Capital Partners.
Moving out of Europe is the start-up’s focus at the moment.
“We believe there is a phenomenal opportunity out of Europe and obviously the U.S. is an attractive market for us. It’s a big opportunity for growth,” Luca Pagano, chief executive at BeMyEye, told CNBC.
Emerging markets where there are lots of little local retailers that may not have advanced data collection methods and where retailers have “zero visibility” were the key thrust areas, Pagano also said.
There would however be stiff competition for BeMyEye as it looks to new markets. While Gigwalk and Field Agent both play in the same space, U.S. start-up Quri, which provides a similar service, raised $17 million last year.
The company is looking to expand aggressively after the acquisition of LocalEyes and this could include further buyouts, Pagano said.
“We don’t rule out further M&A (mergers and acquisitions). We want to be aggressive in establishing ourselves,” Pagano told CNBC.
(Adapted from CNBC)