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As the virtual world around us continues to grow and expand, companies are having to dive a little deeper into how consumers feel about their brand experiences, especially since customer behavior has changed since the pandemic.
Rasto Ivanic, who serves as founder & CEO of GroupSolver, sits with Neal Bloom and Ashok Kamal, Executive Director of Tech Coast Angels San Diego, and shares his insights on how businesses can make important product and marketing decisions faster, and with more confidence by using the startup’s market research technology. GroupSolver is a market research platform that builds intelligence surveys to ask the why, how, and what questions that virtually every consumer company has in the new normal of work-from-home culture. The startup is working to change the way people view market research and focus on the fundamentals of business reasoning.
4:30 Rasto chats about how he shifted from economics to biotech to entrepreneurship, as well as what brought him to sunny San Diego. After completing his Ph.D. in applied economics from Purdue, Rasto worked at McKinsey for five years, not knowing what he wanted to dedicate his career to. He decided he wanted something more long-term, leading him to Mendel Biological Solutions, a small biotech company in the Bay Area, which grew and bred massive grasses to convert to biofuels. After oil prices crashed, he was considering his next career move amid relocating to San Diego with his wife.
5:56 Rasto explains the genesis of GroupSolver. He was at a crossroads when deciding whether to continue to help nonprofits make better decisions or part ways from the grant making process entirely. He and his wife soon realized that everything they were doing to help nonprofits was essentially market research and that there was a market for their services, sparking the idea for GroupSolver.
8:10 Rasto discusses how GroupSolver used investor money to prove the company’s viability. Similar to most learning experiences, Rasto felt the startup nearing an edge on multiple occasions, forcing the company to adapt and make tough decisions fast. In the past two years, GroupSolver has doubled its revenue and secured loyal customers; this has allowed the startup to stabilize the team, and become efficient in paying off any loans.
12:16 Rasto delves into unique cases for which GroupSolver was used. For one project, he and his team partnered with Amazon’s Alexa team to find out why people listen to music, so Alexa’s product development team could better understand the people they were building the features for. That project proved successful when Amazon became a repeat GroupSolver customer.
16:04 Rasto discusses how COVID-19 has specifically impacted consumer behavior. In January, GroupSolver partnered with a food producer in efforts to test out customer relations with canned goods. However, in March they realized that the demand for canned goods had decreased given people’s newfound interest to experiment with fresh ingredients while being in quarantine.
Listen in to hear how GroupSolver helps brands like Amazon learn more about their customers’ behaviors and why investors favor the approach Rasto takes to fundraising.
Rasto’s favorite local tacos:
El Patron at Mira Mesa
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Thanks to our partners at Cox Business for their support in enabling us to grow the San Diego ecosystem.