NEWS24 August 2023

$18m investment for product testing platform Highlight

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US – In-home product testing startup Highlight has raised $18m in Series A funding, led by Acre Venture Partners and HearstLab, with participation from Ingeborg Investments and GS Futures.

Ethan Kellough and Dana Kim

Founded in 2020 by former qualitative market researcher Dana Kim and former product designer Ethan Kellough (pictured), the business runs an automated platform used by brands and agencies to conduct in-home physical product research.

The company, headquartered in New York, offers consumer testing across sectors including food and drink, beauty and personal care, and household goods and clothing. Businesses to have used the platform include Nestle and Procter & Gamble.

Highlight says its platform allows brands to obtain consumer feedback at scale. Earlier in 2023, the company re-launched the platform, with new additions including automation and visualisation of project tasks.

The Series A financing brings the company’s total raised to date to over $30m. Highlight plans to use the most recent investment to expand its tools and its network of home testers, as well as growing its staff headcount.

In a blog post announcing the funding, co-founders and Kim and Kellough wrote: “Physical product companies face many challenges to understanding customer needs and collecting critical feedback to create exceptional, enduring products.

“We’ve felt the pain firsthand — spending far too many hours recruiting specific audiences, combing through fraudulent panellist lists, programming and reprogramming surveys, ensuring the assembly and delivery of shipments, and manually managing this clunky process from end-to end.”

They added: “With the addition of templates and wizards, expert-led testing best practices across verticals, and a DIY experience, we’ll continue to make critical product data more powerful and accessible to teams of all sizes.”