Whether it’s finding a place to eat or figuring out which toothpaste to buy, nothing instills confidence quite like the five-star review.
The same holds true in the world of business-to-business sales. As more and more companies crowd the market offering software, hardware and services, business leaders are looking for customer reviews to cut through the noise and make their decisions.
Our goal is to bring transparency and trust to the industry.”
And that’s where TrustRadius’ peer review platform comes in. The Austin-based company is hoping to become the trusted source for companies buying software and hardware, Vinay Bhagat, TrustRadius’ founder and CEO, told Built In.
“The world has changed,” he said. “Technology buyers can no longer give vendors carte blanche in what they say. Our goal is to bring transparency and trust to the industry.”
The company received a boost to those efforts on Tuesday, announcing that it has raised $12.5 million in Series C funding. The company plans to use the round to double in size and scale its product.
To date, TrustRadius is only scratching the surface of what it can do, Bhagat said.
“This is about scaling,” Bhagat said. “The investment is going to be applied primarily in our product. We’re just scratching the surface with the content that we have.”
That potential starts with the company’s two-sided platform, which provides insights to both businesses and vendors. For businesses, the platform separates itself from other review sites by emphasizing long-form peer reviews. Each reviewer is vetted and encouraged to give a detailed look into their experience with a product that goes beyond simply the number of stars.
The company’s in-depth reviews clarify product differences, describe use case and explore the pros and cons of a particular product. This better helps businesses make an informed decision on whether the product is right for them, Bhagat said.
Meanwhile, vendors are able to use those consumer experiences to improve their products. Citing a customer experience can lend them authenticity when they’re selling to a business, or it can give them a glimpse of what they need to improve, Bhagat said.
With this round, the company plans to enter its next phase of scaling its product and tap into the data it has collected. To do so, the company plans to double its 59-person team through 2020, with a focus on sales and engineering roles.
“There’s a lot more opportunity to garner market intelligence and insights,” he said. “We’re sitting on enormous data sets that can be used to predict markets, inform vendors and provide intelligence to buyers.”
Next Coast Ventures led the round with participation from returning investors Mayfield Fund and LiveOak Ventures.