This is where trust, customer engagement and considering all sides of the equation pays off.
Trustpilot is the platform for a huge, highly engaged global community of consumers who want to share their feedback on various products/services. Then there is themerchant platform, where those customers get real-time analytics of validated customer review data to improve business operations, increase customer satisfaction and drive innovation, as well as win the trust of prospects.
Customer reviews are the new global language for consumer-to-business dialogue, and Trustpilot teaches businesses how to speak it.
Trustpilot founder and CEO Peter Holten Mühlmann gives us his review of the latest funding round.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $73.5 million in Series D financing. The round was led by the private equity firm Vitruvian Partners. Previous investors DFJ Esprit, Index Ventures, Northzone and Seed Capital Denmark also contributed significantly to this round.
Tell us about your product or service.
Trustpilot is the leadingglobal review community for online shoppers. We provide verified, third-party reviews via an open community where consumers can share their shopping experiences. Today, this kind of feedback is a major driver of purchasing decisions.
What inspired you to start the company?
As my family and I started selling and shopping more and more on eBay, I realized that there was a need to allow fellow shoppers to provide valid reviews about the companies from which they were buying products. Enabling this process would help others make more informed purchasing decisions, and Trustpilot grew from there.
How is it different?
We are a validated, open review community. By “validated,” I mean that people who leave reviews must be a customer of the company or service they’re reviewing. By “open,” I mean that we post all reviews, positive and negative, immediately. Companies can’t weed out the negative reviews. I am so committed to this spirit of openness, and to the trust and transparency it creates, that Trustpilot has a team of 30 people working around the clock to make sure reviews comply with guidelines, and to combat fraudulent behavior on the platform. Beyond this consumer-focused angle, our platform stands out because the data it provides to businesses allows them to listen to their customers and improve their operations accordingly.
In which category do you see the most customer feedback, (and is it positive or negative)?
We see feedback across so many different categories; there isn’t really one that stands out. Whether a customer is discussing something seemingly serious, like obtaining a quote for life insurance, or a little less serious, like ordering customized pet accessories, we find that across the board, consumers want to share their experiences so other buyers can learn from them.
What market are you targeting and how big is it?
We target online commerce, which includes retail, travel and any other service or product that is sold online. It’s obviously a huge market.
What’s your business model?
What was the funding process like?
We held a number of conversations with different investors in order to ensure we found the right fit for the business.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
As a European,I did not speak the same language as the American investors. But regardless of nationality, everyone understands the language of customer advocacy. Across international borders, we all know the customer’s voice is powerful, and that is reflected in Trustpilot’s recent momentum.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
We saw great interest from investors, and we believe this is due to the following factors:
- The online review market is growing rapidly across the world.
- Trustpilot has a proven track record, and we have become the online standard for trust in a short time.
- Trustpilot originated in Denmark, but we have strong positions in Sweden, the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and especially in the U.S., where we plan to invest a great deal of the funding we received.
- We have already raised venture capital from North America and the U.K.
- There is great interest in Danish start-up companies.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We will invest even more in the processes, people and technology that will help us strengthen our leading position. Among other things, we will launch several products that will help customers utilize the rich data online reviews provide. And we will grow our tech team by 100 percent this year.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Go for a cheap, gritty office space, with no luxury but lots of passion from the people who are there.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We plan to expand globally and to continue improving our platform. Our goal is to continue helpingconsumers benefit from truthful and transparent reviews andbusinesses benefit from having a centralized place to listen and act on the voice of their customers.
What is the one piece of startup advice you wish you’d gotten early on?
Hire experienced “builders,” people who have taken something from zero to 100, and stay away from the people who managed 500 to 1,000 employees. They won’t understand what you’re going through in the early stages, and they’llwant a lot of structure and support that startups can’t offer.
What’s your favorite NY bar, when you need to kick back and relax?
I love the rooftop at 230 Fifth. The drinks are great, it’s close to the Trustpilot offices and it offers an amazing view of the city.