TruRating was founded in 2013 by Georgina Nelson (pictured), who was later joined by her husband and best friend at the firm, and it aims to change the way data is gleaned from customer feedback.
To find out more about the Microsoft Ventures-supported technology business, we put Nelson under our startup spotlight.
If you want to take part in the V3 Startup Spotlight contact Roland Moore-Colyer.
Previous startups under the spotlight have ranged from cloud computing services firm Fedr8, to public sector website developer DXW, cloud storage management firm Cloudfind, and online car repair marketplace ClickMechanic.
Tell us about truRating
TruRating is a mass point-of-payment rating system that gives customers a chance to have a say when they pay.
By answering one simple question via the payment terminal, customers can rate their experience by pressing 0-9 (0 is terrible, 9 is great). This could be, for example, 'Please rate the service from 0-9' or 'Please rate the product range from 0-9'.
It can provide businesses with near real-time, mass and representative consumer insight that they can view on an online dashboard, and consumers have a trustworthy ratings site.
When was it started?
I decided I wanted to go for it two years ago, when I had my daughter. It got serious about eight or so months later when we raised our first tranche of funding and I could afford childcare, and we took on our first paid employee.
Where is it based?
HQ in London, just next door to the Gherkin, but we also have offices in Sydney and Toronto and soon to open in Atlanta.
How many people work in the business?
So far, 40, but we're growing at around one new truFamily member a week.
Why did you set up truRating?
While I was at Which? I realised that the customer feedback market was pretty much flawed.
Companies were desperate to hear from their customers but on average heard from 0.1 percent, and consumers were desperate for online reviews and ratings, but couldn't really trust what they read as the sites could be so easily gamed.
Even the reviews that could be trusted weren't representative of the vast majority; studies suggest that one percent of people provide 99 percent of the content.
I thought if we could ask everyone one simple question on an aspect of their experience when they pay, make it super quick, easy and anonymous, we'd get far higher levels of engagement.
Today, 88 percent of customers are answering the rating question, which means businesses and consumers can trust the data, and tying the rating to the payment means we're capturing the views of validated customers.
Tell us how you got your business off the ground
With a huge amount of tenacity and optimism - and luckily having the most amazing people with me for the journey who have built truRating into what it is today, and kept me happy and sane.
What technology do you use?
Our truRating application sits on the payment terminal or the till, depending on the makeup of the business's till systems.
We have implementations written in C, C#, C++ and Java, and are developing a version for Android at the moment.
The truRating application communicates with our main server systems which are hosted by Microsoft Azure in the Cloud, as is our data warehouse and analytics platform.
A suite of apps for iPhone is under development to support both sides of our service, integrating with mobile payments to collect ratings, and providing consumers and businesses with easy access to the website information services.
What level of funding have you received so far?
We've received £4.2m, and currently closing a round on a further £4m.
What challenges have you encountered to date?
It's a challenge getting on the development roadmap of some of the world's largest acquirers and payments companies, and it's an industry which doesn't have a reputation for being super speedy. But the best comes to those who wait, and we're getting there.
What's been the biggest highlight of your business to date?
Everyone is always telling me you need to take a step back and recognise and celebrate the champagne moments. I tend to quickly start thinking of what else I need to do.
Winning awards is a fantastic high, positive feedback from the people out there engaging in truRating, and I guess walking into a truRating venue and seeing it just happen all around me and people seemingly loving it, and then I'm floating on a cloud.
What does your company do to relax or have fun after a busy day?
The fridge is always stacked with beers, the Sonos speakers often blaring out 1980s hip hop. Next week we've got some masseuses in for the day, a BBQ at my house, and then a couple of weeks after our summer party day out having adventures on the streets of London. Any excuse for a party really.
What did you do before starting up?
I was a lawyer for Which?, the Consumers' Association, and before that a finance lawyer for Clifford Chance LLP.
What are your favourite and worst things about running your own startup?
Favourite is seeing what you've dreamed of take shape, working with people who are as passionate and driven as you and creating and growing something together which you all own and can take to the world.
Worst I guess is just when you hit that bottom, when you're just so worn out and broken, especially having a baby at the same time, but you never want to have that time out because you want to continue to drive and push.
And you just drive and push out of it with the help of red wine, a bath and a duvet.
Do you work remotely, in a shared environment or have your own office space?
Always own space. We need to put our mark on it, our art everywhere, our colour, our wall of photos of all outings and moments together.
All the guys in our developer team.
Smart or casual?
Casual all the way. But sometimes with stilettos.
Coffee shop of choice?
I am always grabbing coffee on the run so it has to be the nearest.
Beverage of choice?
A very large and very heavy red.
Any bar where you can look at the sea in the summer, or a big log fire in the winter.
I love my British Airways app. I am generally so disorganised, and this saves me. Actually, sort of saves me, thinking about it. I've still missed flights.
Do you benefit from startup communities and related networking?
We joined the Microsoft Ventures scheme for a few months which was fantastic. They plugged us into their incredible network, supported us from a tech side and were on hand for strategic and financial advice.
Apart from that, I have to admit that my head is so down in truRating and spending any spare time with my daughter and husband, that I haven't had time to really engage in the startup communities and networking.
Could the government and technology industry do more to support UK startups?
We looked at government grants initially and I must admit I became fairly disillusioned. We poured so much time and energy into the applications, a vast majority involved trying to fit into their limited word count.
We found out we didn't get it because we hadn't mentioned X and X, all of which we could have gone into huge amount of detail on, if the word count had permitted. Hey ho.
The good intention from the government is clearly there and schemes like R&D Tax Credits, EIS and EMI are really startup-friendly compared to the structures we've been working with in other countries.
We've also worked with UK Trade & Investment quite a lot and met some great individuals in doing so, so big thanks to the UK government for that.
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