Making It Work: OpinionX hits the ‘sweet spot’ to help businesses find out exactly what people want

The online research company was struggling in its early days until the founders used OpinionX’s own software to assess their clients’ needs

OpinionX co-founders Darragh O’Flaherty and Daniel Kyne: ‘We have big goals’

Daniel Kyne got the idea for OpinionX, his online research business, from his own somewhat painful experience working as an analyst for a number of major companies.

“I had a bunch of different roles where I was always doing research, but none of the research tools hit on what people actually care about,” Kyne, 24, told the Business Post.

For tech companies attempting to grow in an increasingly competitive world, the need to really understand what customers want is becoming ever more crucial. And even at the biggest companies, there aren’t that many good software options to help achieve this.

“I spent a year in London working at Unilever as a digital innovation lead, so we were working on building e-commerce strategies for brands as big as Ben & Jerry’s and Magnum,” Kyne explained. “But when we were working with research agencies, we really struggled on that question.

“It was really hard to see what use cases, problems and needs we were addressing with the existing software.”

With OpinionX, Kyne believes he has found a “sweet spot” to help tech companies – and others – laser in on exactly what their customers want and tailor their strategies according to focused and accurate data.

He founded the company in 2020 alongside Darragh O’Flaherty, a software engineer, and has already won more than 1,500 clients including Salesforce, Roche and Runtastic, an Austrian digital health and fitness company bought by Adidas for €220 million in 2015.

“We’re essentially just helping people rank stuff in a much better way that’s more useful to them than what’s out there,” Kyne said.

Currently, a lot of discovery research involves asking open-ended survey questions which give companies a glut of data, often in a messy format and requiring manual analysis on a spreadsheet.

OpinionX addresses this by asking users to prioritise which features they need most, and by letting them vote on other people’s opinions so that the issues that matter surface to the top without the need for analysis.

Things are looking good for the Enterprise Ireland-backed company now, but that wasn’t always the case. It had its own problems in the early days and its own software actually helped the business to overcome them.

“When we started off, we were mainly selling to universities in Ireland,” Kyne said. “But after we hit those pilot customers, we really struggled to get stuff moving and build a client base.”

In April 2021, OpinionX asked potential clients to rank the services they needed most from a research tool, and realised that what they had been offering was one of the least-desired on the list.

“We ended up taking what ranked highest, rebuilding the company around that, and by the end of that week we had both paying customers and testimonials. Everything changed from that week,” Kyne said.

The company still uses its own software to work out what its clients want, and those clients in turn see the value of the tool. The list of customers is growing.

“We’ve achieved a lot since we started, but in comparison to where I see us growing, we’re very early stages,” Kyne said. “In the long term, we have an opportunity to build a new way of optimising and gathering data. We have big goals.”