This Cincinnati Startup Is Using AI to Help Brands and Consumers Collaborate

How Vurvey is rethinking feedback and analysis to reshape how we think about influencers

Vurvey logo and smartphone platform

An entrepreneur’s journey is rarely linear. Some companies take years before finding their footing, some founders need to try multiple companies before finding one that sticks, and others come upon their greatest idea somewhere along the line. For Chad Reynolds, that moment came in the form of his new company Vurvey, which started as a piece of software on the Batterii platform that allowed team members doing innovation work to send a “mission” to consumers and collect video feedback about ideas. Now, that feature is the company, and Vurvey brings brands and consumers together with the power of AI to shape decisions and creation.

“During COVID, that feature just took off because teams couldn’t meet with consumers in person,” CEO and founder Chad Reynolds said. “So, we ended up taking that feature as an idea and built a whole new company and platform around it. Vurvey is short for video survey, and it’s a way for consumer goods and retail companies to get consumer feedback and scale it out without doing focus groups or one-on-one interviews. It’s a video-powered creator network where we recruit creators all over the world and match them up with brands. They collaborate to create new product ideas and take things to market.”

Rather than targeting traditional “influencers,” the Vurvey platform wants to emphasize the impact of “regular people” who like brands and want to be collaborative. Reynolds said the Vurvey team wants to build a platform that “treats everyone in the world as a creator and matches them up with brands and opportunities to earn rewards.” Those rewards often come in the form of financial compensation for their time and thoughts. The process is simple: A company asks for feedback on a product through Vurvey’s patented video survey, and the platform collects replies. But the differentiator is that Vurvey then uses its own AI software to analyze that data, creating actionable insights.

“It summarizes people’s feedback, creates a video reel for you, automatically gives you key takeaways, generates positive and negative topics,” Reynolds said. “Normally, teams would spend 20 or 30 hours combing through all this data and analyzing it. But we create an AI report that generates almost a Medium-style article that summarizes everything that happened, positive and negative, and even gives you new ideas and next steps.”

Vurvey already seems to have an exciting future ahead of it. Companies such as Adidas, Target, REI, and Pepsico are on board, and Reynolds says Vurvey is taking “lessons learned” from Batterii to venture into “the next billion-dollar category.” The platform now boasts more than 40,000 creators and is raising Series A funding to “aggressively” attract more brands and creators, along with building even more AI solutions. Next up: other countries. After that? The world.

“I’d like to build this as a global platform for every creator and every person in the world,” he said. “Social media had its time, and I think we all see the results. The people were the product, and then brands came in and had to pay the bill at the end of the party. We’re building a network for the future that is built around you as an individual and how you connect to commerce. Those values and benefits can be aligned if you design it like that from the start. We have an opportunity to have a lot of the world on our platform.”

A veteran of the Cincinnati startup scene, Reynolds said the Queen City has been an ideal home for both Batterii and Vurvey, allowing the company the runway to grow and evolve. Originally a portfolio company of Ohio Third Frontier partner CincyTech, Batterii took advantage of local resources to get off the ground. And now that Vurvey is hitting its stride, Reynolds is thrilled to be in an area that can provide the talent and opportunity the company needs.

“Access to great talent has been the biggest thing for us,” he said. “But Cincinnati also creates the right environment to create something new. And it’s more affordable to get space and bring people together around an idea. You also have some amazing companies here like P&G and Kroger, where you can bring people in from those companies and test ideas really quickly, especially for consumer-facing companies. It’s been a great starting spot for us, and we hope to grow and build a team here.”

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