A Bozeman tech startup has raised $300,000 to boost its service helping other Montana businesses improve their online presence.
Officials for IgniteFeedback announced Thursday they will use the angel investment from Montana-based Frontier Fund 2 to hire four employees in development, sales and marketing.
The company designs surveys for business websites designed to help companies better understand what customers like, what they don’t and what prevents them from sticking around to buy products.
“Often managers throw around buzzwords like customer experience or customer engagement, yet don’t measure how they are doing. We bring them real-time data,” IgniteFeedback CEO Ben Werner, 33, of Bozeman, said in a written statement.
In an interview with The Gazette, Werner said he and co-founder Eddie McDaniel, 38, of Bozeman, are hoping to expand the business enough to cut prices for other Montana-based companies. IgniteFeedback has about a dozen customers, mostly other tech firms, and hasn’t begun marketing to the general public, he said.
The service has wide application beyond other tech companies, Werner said.
“There’s no reason we’re going to stop there. We want customers of all kinds,” Werner told The Gazette.
The service develops customer information through a combination of questionnaires and “behavior mining,” or studying Web-surfing habits, Werner said. IgniteFeedback offers services for desktop, mobile apps and any other digital presence, he said.
The company charges $15 a month for its beginning services and up to $700 monthly for advanced services. Werner said he’s offering half price for Montana companies once IgniteFeedback begins marketing to the public.
The Frontier Fund is Montana’s only angel investment fund, which refers to a group of investors who offer startup money to new and rising businesses. The reality television show “Shark Tank” is one high-profile example of angel investors helping fund entrepreneurs.
In this latest round, Frontier Fund 2, 48 investors in 10 states committed $2.75 million to Montana companies. Frontier Fund 1, which closed in 2006, raised $1.75 million from 33 investors and offered money to 15 companies.
Liz Marchi, managing director for the Frontier Fund, said the group liked the market size IgniteFeedback is chasing — $20 billion in market research — and supporting a homegrown company.
“We’re based in Montana, and we want entrepreneurs to grow their companies here,” Marchi said in a written statement supplied by IgniteFeedback.
Werner is a Minnesota native who moved to Montana in 2007 to work for RightNow Technologies, the Bozeman firm founded by entrepreneur Greg Gianforte. There, he hooked up with McDaniel, a fellow software developer, and the two began working on their IgniteFeedback after Oracle’s 2011 buyout of RightNow.
Werner and McDaniel also received help from the Blackstone Launchpad at Montana State University and Startup Bozeman, both organizations that aid entrepreneurs.
Visit www.ignitefeedback.com for more information.
Editor's note (Sept. 14): A previous of this story gave the wrong last name of founder Ben Werner's partner, Eddie McDaniel. This version is correct.