Tactic, the AI startup that automates customer and market research, raises $4.5m seed round led by Index Ventures



  • London-based Tactic (formerly known as QuantCopy) gives back time lost to search engines by automating online research, with a focus on sales and marketing teams
  • The company raised a $4.5m seed round from Index Ventures and Visionaries Club
  • Tactic’s customers include GoCardless and Adobe

Tactic, the start-up that uses machine learning to automate the compilation of customer insights and market research, has raised $4.5 million in funding led by Index Ventures, joined by Visionaries Club. Leveraging recent advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and big data, Tactic saves sales, marketing, and revenue operations professionals endless hours they’d otherwise spend on search engines doing repetitive, time-consuming research.

Tactic was founded in 2020 by Jack Hodkinson, a Cambridge-trained experimental physicist specialising in quantum materials and data analysis; and Rudy Lai, a former banker at Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who worked on applying machine learning to transaction data to tell salespeople who to call and who to call first.

In many companies, sales teams and customer services professionals spend dozens of hours each week searching, logging and analysing customer and market data. Such manual search and data entry work is haphazard, time-consuming and error-prone – relying on the ability of knowledge workers to sift through multiple sources online (which may or may not be reliable), to plug in data without making mistakes, and to share it in various formats with colleagues.

Across all seniority levels, approximately 40% of professionals’ time is consumed with research and data entry – work that is ripe for automation. “No enterprise wants to pay people to lose time to manual research and data entry. But they do. We knew there had to be a better way,” says Rudy Lai, CEO and co-founder of Tactic. “Professionals don’t want search results – they want answers. There’s a demand for smart searching that’s powerful and customisable, and Tactic is here to fill it.”

Tactic addresses the challenge by allowing knowledge workers to ask questions in ordinary language and to apply intuitive filters for prioritising and ranking the insights. These ‘instructions’ guide sophisticated machine learning algorithms to intelligently ‘read’ billions of pages on the web, as well as the user’s own stored or bought data that typically reside in isolated silos. 

The insights are pulled into an intuitive dashboard which automatically ranks answers to be most relevant for the user. They can share their insights easily and take action on them in the form of to-do lists and integrated updates to their customer relationship management (CRM) software. Projects within Tactic can be set to auto-renew, so users can trigger their workflows from new insights coming in at intervals that suit them.

The result is an intelligent and collaborative experience that offers workers targeted insights beyond anything that they could compile manually. Tactic presents a particular opportunity for marketers analysing and targeting specific segments; salespeople and business developers prospecting for new leads; investors searching for gaps in the market; and procurement managers increasing their return on investment.

“Tactic is one of a new generation of companies that are seizing the opportunity presented by the seismic changes and improvements in natural language processing technology,” says Jan Hammer, Partner at Index Ventures, who led the investment. “The founders have a deep understanding of the pain-points for companies, who must sink hundreds of human-hours into mind-numbing research and data compilation. We believe Tactic could help unlock more human potential by allowing AI to take on the burden of these tiresome but necessary tasks.”

Jack Hodkinson, CTO of Tactic, adds: “We allow our users to ask questions and get answers from unstructured data at the petabyte scale. Unlike data vendors, we let our users specify exactly what kind of queries they have, in a simple app where they can collaborate with their teams. We’re providing a seamless way for people to stay on top of their most valuable data.”

Enterprise customers using Tactic have already been able to create highly accurate marketing campaigns and target the best sales leads. “Prospecting processes for our teams used to be painful and took too much time away from actually speaking to customers,” says Jody Clark, Global VP of Sales Development at GoCardless. “With Tactic, we save 10 hours a week per salesperson. Thousands of answers are found, filtered and ranked based on their priorities – so they know where to start”.

Andrew Hall, Director of Marketing for Adobe’s Workfront, says: “Tactic drives our outbound strategy and deep insight into our target accounts, and has been a key piece of technology that helped us scale in the past year.”

The seed funding will allow Tactic to grow their product, frontend and data engineering teams to meet the huge demand they are experiencing.

“Tactic has the potential to create a new category around data automation by providing customers with the most relevant data, at speed, in the right format, at the right time.” - Marton Sarkadi Nagy, Principal at Visionaries Club.

About Tactic

Tactic was co-founded in 2020 by Rudy Lai (CEO) and Jack Hodkinson (CTO), a technical founding team with deep roots in big data and machine learning. Lai was previously at Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch where he worked on applying machine learning to transaction data in order to optimise outbound sales strategies. Hodkinson has a PhD in Experimental Physics from Cambridge, where he studied new ceramic battery materials by creating a search-powered computer model to work through a database of potential compounds. Tactic is a remote first company with a dynamic team located across 5 countries, speaking 10 different languages, and working together asynchronously.

In this post: Jan Hammer, Erin Price-Wright, Tactic, Hannah Seal

Published — March 10, 2022