Why we invested in Sticky

We recently announced our $5m Series A investment in Sticky with participation from our friends at Northzone and Conor.

With the abundance of SaaS solutions in every imaginable vertical of business software, it is said that new entrants should be at least 10x better, easier to deploy or cheaper to really succeed. Performing an eye-tracking study used to involve buying expensive hardware or services that could cost upwards of $10k and then using those to perform a study with a limited panel sample in a fixed location. Sticky is changing that by enabling eye-tracking using commodity webcam hardware within the browser anywhere in the world making eye-tracking dramatically cheaper, more flexible and enabling a wider reach.

Sticky is a SaaS based eye-tracking platform enabling anyone to run studies with simple self-service tools and receive insightful analytics such as heat maps, sequence diagrams and brand impression durations. Sticky is helping publishers, advertisers and agencies make more money by knowing what consumers see and don’t see. This is especially interesting in the case of the ongoing discussion about ad viewability: is an online ad seen just because it is on displayed on the screen? Sticky can improve publisher monetization and advertiser ROI by measuring exactly what is seen.

Unique and proprietary technology

Sticky’s core technology enables high resolution eye-tracking using any modern web browser with a commodity webcam. This is a non-trivial problem to solve especially when done in an automated, self-calibrating way that does not require any human intervention to normalize results. It took Sticky years to perfect the technology but the resulting accuracy at scale is competitive to hardware eye-tracking at a fraction of the cost. There are many competitive methods and technologies that allow A/B testing of ads and web sites, counting brand impressions and helping design user-friendly websites. However none of them can measure exactly what was seen by real users.

Expanding into new markets and use cases

New markets and use cases are opened up by enabling eye-tracking studies to be performed at marginal costs calculated in single digits rather than thousand. By doing them purely in software, the potential becomes even larger. Now enrolling a granularly defined panel from far away countries is no issue because no infrastructure and travel is needed. Neither is rapidly running a study to A/B test a draft of an advertisement when set up only takes a few clicks.

The big opportunity is opening up completely new areas where eye-tracking analytics could be useful but has until now been cost prohibitive or too inflexible. Areas such as web or UX design are obvious candidates but there are also more exotic use cases such as valuing e-commerce inventory placements. Finally, Sticky provides a full API for 3rd party developers to integrate eye-tracking studies into their own products. We can then expect many more interesting applications to be developed that we have not even imagined.

Rapid growth and customer adoption

Since Sticky released their self-service SaaS product as a beta last September, the enrollment of new customers has been rapid. Equally important has been the strong adoption of the product within the signed up customer base. Users have been continuously running more and larger eye-tracking studies than they could have ever done with traditional methods. New integrations and business development partnerships are being formed to help businesses unlock value with eye-tracking.

What does the future hold?

With the new funding round Sticky will expand its sales and marketing efforts as well as continue the development of the core platform. There is a strong roadmap of new value-add features based on the feedback from the customer base as well as new integrations bringing eye-tracking to 3rd party properties. We are excited to join the journey with Sticky in revolutionizing the field of eye-tracking analytics and helping companies optimize their consumer engagement and ad spend.

Sticky has a free 14 day trial on their website, so go ahead and try it out!