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  • Portfolio News
  • 12 October 2017
  • 18 min read
  • Words: Northzone

Northzone leads $14.5m Series A in HappyOrNot

HappyOrNot (www.happy-or-not.com), the Finnish company responsible for creating the globally-recognisable ‘Smiley’ feedback system, which allows organisations to gauge consumer and employee satisfaction levels in under 2 seconds, today announces a $14.5m USD Series A funding round led by Northzone, the Stockholm, London, and NY-based VC firm (with a track record for backing Nordic success stories including Spotify, Klarna, and Trustpilot).

AirTree, an Australia-headquartered venture capital firm known for its investments in market leaders such as Paxata, Prospa, and 90Seconds, also participated in the round.

Marta Sjörgen, Principal at Northzone, and John Henderson, Partner at AirTree, will join the HappyOrNot board.

Headquartered in Tampere, Finland, and with a US office in Florida, 25,000 of HappyOrNot’s distinctive ‘Smiley Terminals’ are already installed across airports, office spaces, and retail outlets around the world.  Customers include large retail chains such as IKEA, Lidl, and Carrefour, as well as global brands including Microsoft, McDonald’s, London Heathrow Airport, LinkedIn, and the British National Health Service. The online equivalent is increasingly integrated within major company websites internationally, allowing customers or employees to rate their virtual experiences on a four-stage scale from ‘smile’ to ‘frown’.

Generating actionable customer and employee feedback data on an unprecedented scale, HappyOrNot has registered over half a billion responses to date, and now supports more than 4,000 clients in 117 countries, and with a global reseller network of over 100 companies. This new investment will be used to turbocharge international consolidation and expansion, with the USA, UK, Germany, and France being priorities for the Finnish company over coming months, as well as the Australian and Southeast Asian markets where AirTree has expertise.

HappyOrNot also intends to invest heavily into research and development, enhancing existing feedback data analytics, and refining its customer success management depended upon by clients including Microsoft, McDonald’s, London Heathrow Airport, LinkedIn, the British National Health Service (NHS), and New York University (NYU), whilst securing new ones internationally. It is anticipated that more clients will come to rely on ‘The Happy Index’: HappyOrNot’s official performance index score, calculated as the weighted average of the four Smileys, highlights fluctuations to help clients discover the times of day, week, month, or location, when performance is low or high and make more accurate improvement initiatives.

Alongside this, HappyOrNot intends to use this financing round to grow its R&D, marketing, and sales teams from today’s employee count of 65, to 200 people within the next 2-3 years.

Heikki Väänänen, CEO and Founder of HappyOrNot, comments: “HappyOrNot was inspired by my own frustration at not being able to communicate with retailers about good or bad experiences, in order to ensure that employees received recognition or that businesses could improve their service. It is gratifying that organizations and consumers across the world have embraced HappyOrNot, and our own endorsement as a company has come from Northzone and AirTree’s commitments to us. They appreciated what we have achieved so far and are now supporting us to keep on enhancing the world’s most-loved engagement platform, as well as consolidate and expand our international presence.”

Marta Sjögren, Principal at Northzone, comments: “Like the rest of the world, I first experienced HappyOrNot when using one of its public terminals. I am a big believer in communicating feedback to service people I encounter, knowing that it can make an impact on someone’s career or simply improve their day. This makes me a very active user of HappyOrNot’s terminals. I started spotting HappyOrNot’s distinctive smiles and frowns in every corner of the globe, and when I researched the company, I was amazed with how deeply integrated the “Happy Index” was with some of the world’s biggest brands and employers. I am excited that Northzone is now part of the next stage of the HappyOrNot story.”

John Henderson, Partner at AirTree, comments: “HappyOrNot boasts a product that is internationally recognisable. The company empowers millions of customers and employees each year to provide crucial feedback. The data and insights platform help businesses make better customer-centric decisions. The team at AirTree look forward to supporting HappyOrNot’s further international expansion, particularly in the Asia Pacific region. It’s a privilege to join them on their journey.”

Kevin Rendle, Head of Operative Systems at Heathrow Airport Holdings, comments: “We needed a quick and simple method to understand our passengers’ feedback on a day-to-day basis, allowing us to understand their perception of the security process with a voluntary process, and building a clear picture over time of changing trends in passenger feedback.”

“Without any prompting, the security staff are encouraging passengers to use the feedback units. This is hugely encouraging, as it is a positive interaction between our staff and the passenger, and really enforces to passengers that their feedback is important to us.”

The Industry

According to a report from American Express, three in five Americans (59%) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience. Correspondingly, RnRMarketResearch estimates that the customer feedback sector will grow to $8.39 billion by 2019.

This latest funding round for HappyOrNot shows the Finnish company is a market leader poised to take advantage of a sector with enormous potential.