Prayag Narula and his brother, Chirag Narula, aim to do for product and market research calls what Gong and Chorus.ai did for sales calls.
They created Marvin in 2020, a user research platform that helps companies better understand their customers’ needs. This stems, in part, from Prayag Narula’s background. He co-founded and ran marketing technology company LeadGenius for many years, guiding it to raise over $30 million in venture capital and reach hundreds of employees.
Not coming from a background in sales and marketing, he decided to hire a friend to join LeadGenius, which eventually became CEO at the start of the pandemic. At the same time, Prayag Narula resigned as CEO, but remained on the board.
“Marvin is sort of a throwback to my roots in user-centered design,” he said. “Sales teams talk to customers and want to make a sale, while customer success teams want to sell. With the product and design teams, their sole focus is how to make the customer’s life better with the product. It’s the purest form of user engagement, and we wanted to capitalize on it.
Narula went on to explain that at LeadGenius, the right tools were not available to achieve this. Fast forward to today, and thanks to video conferencing, it’s easy to record conversations and extract them for information. However, more and more companies see the value of being user-centric, but don’t know where to start.
Marvin’s technology is a user research and interview tool that connects to video conferencing tools, like Zoom, and takes notes during calls. It also automates all aspects of user research, including scheduling interviews and turning recordings into searchable information with keywords and hashtags.
“Companies spend a lot of time talking to their customers, getting feedback and doing research,” Narula said. “All of this is happening on Zoom now. We help make these conversations more effective and collaborative.
Thousands of customers already use Marvin, like Lattice and Simon-Kucher, and record thousands of minutes of recordings every week. Many users leverage technology to talk to customers to understand their challenges and get feedback on a design or product. From these conversations, they discover patterns and share them with their respective teams. Companies also use the tool as a management consultant to talk to industry experts or about academic research.
Today, the company exits private beta and announces a $3.8 million pre-seed first round. Apollo Projects and Sam Altman’s Fuel Capital co-led the round, with participation from Scrum Ventures, Hack.VC, Global Founders Capital, House Fund, Gaingels and a group of angel investors.
The funding will allow Marvin to scale its team and product development to better enable teams to conduct, organize, analyze and share user interviews. Much of the company’s growth has occurred in the past five months. The company currently has 20 employees and is hiring at all levels.
“We went from zero paying users in the third quarter of last year to over a thousand users, so it’s time to move to thousands of paying users,” Prayag Narula said.