Consumer insights platform Populix bags US$1.2m funding, parks 10% under marketing

Indonesia-based consumer insights platform Populix has raised US$1.2 million in pre-series A funding led by Intudo Ventures, with participation from new investors Quest Ventures and a number of strategic investors. The proceeds will be used to enhance marketing efforts, roll out new products, and bring on new hires.

Co-founder and CEO Timothy Astandu (pictured) told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that about 10% of the funding will go to marketing, especially for its automated self-service product Paket Hemat Populix. Prior to this round of financing, Populix raised a US$1 million seed round of financing led by Intudo Ventures. The company was also part of Gojek’s Xcelerate program’s second batch, recognising outstanding female founders.

Paket Hemat Populix was launched as part of the initiative to ensure that market research should be accessible and affordable for everyone. This comes as the company expanded its business offerings beyond multinational companies and major Indonesia conglomerates.

Founded in January 2018, Populix is a mobile-based consumer insights platform that supports comprehensive research and data collection via its app, providing an intimate window into the preferences of Indonesian consumers. Over the past year, it revamped its Populix for Business service with an all-new app featuring improved UI/UX, providing more information to clients about projects completed through Populix. Through its app, Populix aspires to be a one-stop-shop for businesses to conduct a wide range of research, gaining critical insights and ultimately leading to better business outcomes.

According to Populix, it is currently developing dataset products that periodically track market movements, allowing businesses to closely follow market dynamics and consumer preferences. The company added that it experienced a five-fold revenue growth last year, signing on 52 new enterprise clients from 10 countries, spanning traditional research buyers to SMEs and well-funded startups. Among the list of brands it has worked with include ABC, Tokopedia, Tiket.com, Sinarmas, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the University of Cambridge.

When asked about marketing initiatives Populix will implement to raise awareness of the brand, Astandu said it will focus on partnerships with companies and obtaining media coverage for internal research. While the pandemic might have rocked the boat for many companies, Astandu said its marketing plans did not change much amidst the pandemic and that Populix is still mainly focusing on digital.

"With the same budget, we were still able to gain more business leads and acquire more respondents to download our app due to the shift from offline to online," he said. To futureproof its business, Astandu said Populix seeks to expedite the shift from offline to online as this will be the new norm for research and consumer insights moving forward. "Our marketing initiatives will be used to raise awareness and convince our clients towards this shift," he added.

In October 2020, Populix said its respondent app was the third trending lifestyle app on Playstore, resulting in four times new sign-up growth and a six times growth in-app traffic during that period. Since then, the company has introduced new activities for respondents in the app, including games, daily polls, rebate programs, and machine learning training-related tasks. Respondents are able to receive monetised incentives for contributing their time and insights to Populix’s clients.

Intudo Ventures' founding partner Patrick yip said with its strong private consumption levels and rapid consumer upgrading, Indonesia is a dynamic market for brands both international and domestic. According to him, with consumer habits undergoing dramatic changes in recent years due to rising incomes and widespread embrace of digital commerce, Populix is providing clients with actionable insights into the latest consumption characteristics and trends of Indonesians.

Meanwhile, partner for Quest Ventures, Jeffrey Seah, said Southeast Asia is fast fulfilling its potential as the epicenter of global economic growth with Indonesia as the foremost market. As global and regional brands pour resources into the region, ensnaring the growth dividend lies in sense-making the disparate markets ahead of the competition. "We see that Populix has incisively deployed technology to modernise the old market research service," he added.