In today's rapidly changing business environment, understanding and interpreting human behaviour and preferences is a critical challenge for companies. Traditional techniques such as specialised observation, surveys, and focus groups, once the backbone of understanding consumer behaviour, are increasingly insufficient in the face of fast-changing user preferences and behaviours.
The gap in effectively capturing and interpreting consumer insights presents a critical hurdle for businesses aiming to remain relevant and responsive to their markets. As consumer needs and behaviours evolve at an unprecedented rate, the reliance on these conventional methods hinders the ability of companies to acquire accurate and timely insights, thereby impacting their strategic decisions and market responsiveness.
Another problem is the limitations inherent in online research, particularly in replicating the depth and authenticity of in-person interactions. In the digital age, while there has been a significant shift towards online research methodologies, these often fail to capture the nuances and richness of real-life experiences and interactions.
The challenge became even more pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic, where traditional face-to-face research methods were not feasible, underscoring the need for more innovative and effective approaches.
The inability of digital platforms to fully replicate in-person experiences has been a significant barrier in gathering and analysing consumer insights in a way that truly reflects human experiences.
This has led to a gap in understanding the subtleties of consumer behaviour, which is crucial for businesses to develop strategies that are genuinely responsive to their customers' needs.
To address this issue, Geetika Kambli, along with Jashish Kambli, founded Humanify Technologies in May 2022.
Who are the founders?
Geetika Kambli, the Founder and Director of Business at Humanify, has a diverse background that spans business, research, and technology. She started her career as a Computer Engineer and then pursued an MBA. Geetika spent her initial seven years in sales, working with global brands like Unilever and Johnson & Johnson.
She then co-founded Future Factory, which is now affiliated with the Godrej Group. During her 17 years at Future Factory, Geetika not only managed the profit and loss responsibilities but also led the user research practice at the Centre for Behavioural Research.
The centre focuses on studying users to provide insights to technology teams, an experience that directly influences the platform at Humanify.
Geetika is also an advisor to Welingkar University and IIT Bombay SINE and actively participates in the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on the Innovation & Technology Committee.
She is the Chair of the Indian Women's Network, CII (Maharashtra), and serves on the National Committee for Women Empowerment.
On the other hand, Jashish Kambli is a globally acclaimed designer and engineer. He leads the design teams at Humanify. Jashish is an alumnus of the National Institute of Design (NID) and Cambridge University.
He also co-founded Future Factory, where he works with global businesses to create innovative ideas and transform them into remarkable experiences.
Jashish is a recipient of multiple prestigious awards, including the Red Dot Design Award, Japan's Good Design Award, America's IDSA Design Award, and Italy's A Design Award, placing him among the world's most acclaimed designers.
How did it start?
Geetika, who has been a significant figure in the field of consumer research since 1997, observed a crucial gap: the traditional methods used to understand consumer behaviour were no longer effective in keeping up with the rapidly changing market landscape.
The realisation came from her extensive experience, spanning about 15 years, where she provided expert guidance to teams working with global brands.
In 2005, Geetika took a significant step in her career by co-founding the Centre for Behavioral Research at Future Factory.
At the Centre for Behavioral Research, Geetika and her team developed a unique toolkit comprising 50 distinct methods. The toolkit was created in partnership with global organisations across various sectors, aiming to utilise consumer insights to craft effective strategies and solutions.
Initially, the team focused on machine learning, developing algorithms that pushed the boundaries of what technology could achieve in understanding consumer behavior. They specifically looked at unstructured conversations and observations, recognising that the real-time feedback provided by users offered a unique and valuable perspective.
However, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic brought an unexpected challenge. The centre’s research heavily relied on observing user behaviour in person, a method severely impacted by the pandemic's restrictions.
The limitation in conducting face-to-face research became a significant obstacle, but it also acted as a catalyst for innovation. It led Geetika to recognise an opportunity to develop new products that could overcome these challenges.
Looking at this opportunity, Geetika founded Humanify as a separate entity.
A year after its inception, Humanify Technologies launched ExploraStory, a platform designed to enhance the connection between companies and their customers.
The tool allows businesses to observe and interact with their customers in real time, providing a more dynamic and engaging way to gather user experiences and feedback.
It enables companies to select appropriate participants for specific studies, conduct user research for various scenarios, and perform sophisticated analyses to identify patterns within the unstructured data collected.
Notably, this kind of approach is particularly valuable for businesses looking to understand customer behaviour and preferences in greater depth.
Geetika emphasises that while many online research tools simply attempt to digitise offline practices, true innovation lies in leveraging technology in new and creative ways.
The approach can lead to breakthroughs that were previously unattainable with conventional methods. ExploraStory offers a more immersive and effective way to understand and interact with customers, going beyond the limitations of traditional online research methods.
What does Humanify Technologies do?
Humanify Technologies focuses on creating AI-driven research reports that closely resemble real human experiences.
The startup’s product, Explorastory, allows businesses to interact directly with their customers, observe their experiences live, and generate real-time research results. It is tailored to specific use cases and leverages artificial intelligence to provide a more in-depth and personalized understanding of user behaviour.
Unlike traditional research methods that often rely on graphs and written summaries, Humanify's reports incorporate various media types, offering a more comprehensive and engaging representation of human interactions.
Notably, this method provides businesses with richer, more nuanced insights into customer behaviour and preferences.
Geetika Kambli, co-founder of Humanify Technologies, emphasises that their approach to customer understanding is evolving rapidly with technological advancements as it enables marketing and product teams to make more informed decisions quickly and cost-effectively, enhancing business agility and responsiveness.
Humanify Technologies primarily serves two types of clients: consumer goods brands (like FMCG, appliances, home, and lifestyle companies) and service companies (such as banks, media, and entertainment enterprises).
The startup operates on a subscription-based, pay-per-use model, typical of SaaS products. The model allows users to purchase a set number of research hours and use them as needed, with the option to buy additional hours if required.
Humanify Technologies' pricing starts at Rs 3,200 per hour, making it accessible for teams to adopt the platform. Currently, The startup works with several clients, including Eureka Forbes, Godrej & Boyce, and Go Desi.
For instance, It has assisted Eureka Forbes in evaluating service plans, helping to determine which plans to offer, what features to include, and how to price them effectively.
Looking ahead, Humanify plans to enhance its product offerings using AI to improve user experience and real-time learning. It also aims to expand into the US market.
Funding and investors
In late August last year, Humanify Technologies closed its pre-series funding round led by Godrej & Boyce, the flagship company of the Godrej Group. The fundraising was aimed at boosting unique insight generation platform, leveraging current advancements in AI and deeptech.
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