Mercia EIS Funds

VR and AR startup raises seed funding from Mercia to revolutionise market research industry

A developer of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) products for the market research industry has secured a seed investment from Mercia Fund Managers to scale the company’s product pipeline and support its international growth.

Founded in 2016, Gorilla in the room provide researchers with the tools they need to acquire more robust data to predict why and how consumers buy products. The company won the Market Research Society’s “Best Data Solution 2017” for its approach and it currently works with a number of high-profile clients including Ipsos, one of the largest market research organisations in the world, and agencies within multinational advertising group WPP.

Gorilla in the room has developed a range of innovative VR and AR products to provide researchers with an alternative to traditional market research methods such as focus groups and online surveys. Its technology allows researchers to immerse people in real life situations, from retail studies in a virtual supermarket to new product development with augmented products.

The company is led by an experienced management team, including chief scientist Dr Alastair Goode, an award-winning cognitive scientist and developer of neuroscience technology in research, and CTO Tom Painter, a CGI and 3D technologist and Pixar beta tester, who has worked on films such as Harry Potter. CEO Jonathan Barrowman has led multimillion dollar businesses in global executive roles at Blippar, Yahoo and WPP.

Jonathan Barrowman, founder and CEO of Gorilla in the room, said: “Market research has been guiding marketing decisions for decades and our suite of VR and AR products empower researchers with better data for marketers to increase sales. Our range of products will transform market research more than behavioural economics and we believe the use of VR and AR will be standard practice across the industry within the next three years.”

Chris Kilroy, Investment Associate at Mercia, said: “Immersive technologies are redefining the way in which we interact with the world around us, and their use and application are relevant across a range of sectors, from gaming and education through to training and market research. Our EIS investment into Gorilla in the room is the result of Mercia’s targeted investment strategy to provide capital and support for emerging companies in this sector. We are highly confident that Jonathan, Alastair and Tom have the unique blend of commercial acumen, domain expertise and development excellence that is necessary to successfully lead this company and revolutionise the way that organisations across the globe carry out market research.”