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Former ARK Challenge Startup Pivots, Becomes Wyzerr

3 min read

Businesses crave honest customer feedback, and Wyzerr believes it’s developed a better way for consumers to provide it.

Wyzerr, founded last year as the result of a pivot by Innovate Arkansas and ARK Challenge firm Sooligan, pitched its consumer insights platform Wednesday morning at the 1 Million Cups program from the Venture Center in downtown Little Rock.

Bjorn Simmons, Wyzerr’s vice president for sales and marketing, said current methods to capture customer feedback are inadequate and noted a 4 percent participation rate for customer surveys.

“Surveys are too long, cumbersome and boring,” he said. “Businesses are not getting honest feedback from real customers.”

The Wyzerr platform “gamifies” the experience with 25 questions that can be answered in less than 90 seconds, Simmons said. Users drag a picture of the specific product or service they are reviewing to one of four color-coded icons: green for excellent, blue for good, yellow for OK and red for bad. Businesses then get real-time results, Simmons said.

The “gamified” approach includes quick questionnaires that look and feel like games and distinguish Wyzerr from its competition, such as Survey Monkey and Survey Gizmo, he said.

“We want to hit the market hard and quickly before everybody catches on,” Simmons said.

Simmons said Wyzerr is delivering an 83 percent survey completion rate to its customers, which include Cheeburger Cheeburger, the national burger chain.  

Wyzerr’s app can be downloaded on its own, and Simmons said it can be integrated into a participating company’s app as well.

Simmons, who presented Wednesday with Wyzerr co-founder and designer Steadmon Harper, is eager to bring Wyzerr to Little Rock.

The road back to Arkansas has been a long one for the startup, launched at an accelerator in Syracuse, New York, and technically based out of Los Angeles and led by CEO Natasia Malaihollo. Now an Arkansas advocate, Malaihollo helped guide Sooligan, a social media app that enabled users to find and share information about any city, through the ARK Challenge in 2012.

Sooligan eventually moved back to its founders’ native California following its ARK run, but Malaihollo and co-founder Nikka Umil stayed connected to northwest Arkansas, even launching its app at the University of Arkansas.

Simmons (North Little Rock) and Harper (Pine Bluff) are both Arkansas natives and UA graduates. They connected last year through the South by Southwest festival in Austin and then through the StartFast accelerator in Syracuse, where Harper and Mallaihollo had taken Sooligan. Advisers at StartFast advised Sooligan to pivot, and teaming with Simmons they came up with the idea for Wyzerr.

Simmons said the company ultimately hopes to open an “interface studio” in Little Rock where businesses can test new products and services and consumers can review them.

He thinks such a venture now could work in central Arkansas.

“We want to be a part of what’s going on here now with tech startups,” he said. “We didn’t know all this was going on here. That’s why we left Arkansas after school, because all the resources that are available now weren’t here then.”

Next week, Wyzerr begins an accelerator program in Cincinnati; Malaihollo missed Wednesday’s pitch because she was there setting up for the four-month program. Afterward, Simmons would love to spend more time in his hometown.

“Arkansas is investing in tech startups and innovation,” he said. “And that’s not only attracting new people but attracting people like us back here.”

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