“We connect our ‘Eyes’ with brands and retailers looking for in-store or street level data. This includes checking SLA compliance, identifying numerical distribution and product availability, and optimising the routines of in-house or agency-based field force teams.”
Crowdsourcing is the practice of engaging a ‘crowd’ or group for a common goal — often innovation, problem solving, or efficiency. Now with the omnipresence of Smartphones and the ease of App creation, mobile crowdsourcing is gaining momentum. BeMyEye is Europe’s largest and most effective DaaS (Data as a Service) mobile crowdsourcing company. It provides an innovative service that helps brands and retailers attain real-world data from thousands of points of sale locations through a distributed workforce of 400,000 individuals (They call them ‘Eyes’). BeMyEye’s unique approach is to use gamification to encourage their Eyes to complete missions within the app. The Eyes are rewarded for business-critical actions; the number of completed missions, speed of completion and the quality of submissions.
Headquartered in London, BeMyEye was founded in Italy in 2011 by Italian entrepreneur and innovator, Gian Luca Petrelli. The company utilises Europe’s largest crowd of real world data gatherers, to provide real-time actionable in-store and street-level data for more than 400 clients, including major brands like Mattel, Coca Cola, P&G, Nestle, Samsung, Heineken, Lavazza and Universal. The company has grown in 5 years from being a start-up to an established business with 60 employees and 4 offices in Italy, UK, France and Spain.
Terse Talk With the Entrepreneur, Gian Luca Petrelli
What led to the inception of the company? Why did you select this arena?
I started BeMyEye because of a personal need. I own a small company that produces olive oil and other specialty foods. I had organised a promotion to be held in hundreds of supermarkets in the American Midwest. Merchandising materials were sent to the locations and promotional staff were hired to provide samples to the shoppers. As it was an important investment, I wanted to know if the promotion was correctly executed. I called one of the “field marketing” agencies covering that area and asked for a quote. They ended up being too expensive and I thought: “All this complication, when it would have been easier to just simply ask people living in the local vicinity to take a few pictures on their Smartphone!” After a Google search I discovered there was nothing similar in the world, so I filed a patent application and then put together a team once I’d acquired the financial resources.
What prompted the expansion of your company?
Taking the service from Italy to other countries was a natural evolution. Our existing customers urged us to cover other markets they had a presence in. What’s more, the industries we were serving in Italy had the exact same needs abroad, so we deemed there was sufficient opportunity to expand into additional territories.
Can you explain the popularity of BeMyEye?
We are popular among our ‘Eyes’ because we offer them an opportunity to earn an additional income in their spare time. It’s not something that you can live on, but the extra 100/200 Euros makes a difference, and for those Eyes willing to travel the additional revenue can be significant!
Among our clients, we are popular because we solve a significant pain point; a service that in many cases has no viable alternative. BeMyEye helps our clients to achieve their business goals by measuring business critical and revenue generating KPIs across every location, not just a sample of them.
What are your company’s strong points?
The team: Without our marvellous and skilled team, we would never have reached the level the company is at today. They did everything from managing manual operations for which we didn’t have functionalities, to developing software features that had to be in place in just a few hours. They have been integral to our ability to manage constant emergencies in those early days and delivering a first-class data service that met and exceeded our clients’ expectations.
Customers: We have been fortunate on many occasions to gain the confidence of key decision makers inside organisations which eventually became some of our biggest clients. Fascinated by our solution, they would sell our service internally to senior internal stakeholders. For a relatively unknown company which BeMyEye was at the time, they took a chance on us, and the trust of those people has been an incredible asset over the years.
Our crowd of Eyes: They are an incredibly valuable asset. Their professionalism and commitment to collecting data and performing mystery shopping missions is something that few would have believed possible from an unknown crowd.
Technology: We couldn’t have delivered this service on the scale we currently do a few years back. From the recruitment of our Eyes which we do via geo-localized Facebook ads, to the incredible features we’ve developed on our App, the technological improvements have made a huge difference. In addition, cloud services such as AWS, which we use on a day-to-day basis, simply did not exist a few years before the company was founded.
Investors: We would not have been able to start without them.
What are BeMyEye’s future prospects?
BeMyEye has an exciting roadmap ahead. We are currently developing new products which we plan to launch very soon. Our aim is to serve the whole of Europe (all 44 countries), enabling millions more to make money in their spare time.
This week we announced a landmark strategic partnership with our counterpart in the USA, Quri. This new alliance means that we are now offering an unprecedented level of coverage to our customers across Europe and the USA. BeMyEye and Quri will now be the exclusive suppliers of mobile crowdsourced data for their respective customer base, in their respective territories. This new partnership provides our customers with a single comparable view of their in-store and street-level performance across 16 countries.
Glowing Customers’ Testimonies
“BeMyEye has generated measurable results, resulting in 10-20% of sales that otherwise would have been lost had the corrective measures not been taken.”
- Gianfranco Iuculano, Sales Director, 20th Century Fox
“Out of Home advertising needed a service that could fundamentally improve the credibility of the entire marketplace. The collaboration with BeMyEye allows us to provide a truly innovative service to our customers”
- Alberto Cremaschi, CEO, Kinetic Italy
“The importance of visibility became particularly clear through the insights we got from BeMyEye and we’re now able to spend our marketing budget much more effectively”
- Andrea Guanci, Marketing Director, MSC Cruises
Gian Luca Petrelli, Founder and Executive Chairman