Prior to co-founding Peanut Labs in 2007, President Murtaza Hussain, Chief Operating Officer Ali Moiz and Chief Technology Officer Prosper Nwankpa had a different vision: Xuqa.com -- a social network made profitable, most notably, by enabling market researchers to administer surveys to its users.
Xuqa was launched in 2005 at a time when social networks were fairly new and gaining popularity fast. Shortly after increasing its community from 0 to 1.6 million users around the world, Xuqa was handed $1.3 million in seed funding from BV Capital. After burning through half of the funding, and with about six months of resources left, the company tried to monetize.
After several attempts with CPM ads, premium SMS services, video ads and more, the company inadvertently stumbled upon market research. Xuqa's founders saw it as the perfect opportunity. "It was a problem waiting to be solved," said Murtaza Hussain, co-founder of Xuqa. "There was still a great mount of market research being conducted online, especially for the under-24 demographic that we had using our site."
Xuqa started providing its users with "peanuts" -- a type of virtual currency that allowed members to earn and distribute reputation points among other peers on the site -- in exchange for taking surveys. The company was back on track to profitability; however, there was nowhere else to grow and the company's exit strategy -- to sell to Viacom or CBS -- never presented itself.
In 2007, co-founders Hussain, Moiz and Nwankpa collectively made a decision to change the direction of the company and build out their survey technology to integrate with any social networking application or online community. Shortly after, they renamed the company Peanut Labs.
Today, Peanut Labs is changing the way the world conducts online market research by focusing on social media sample and innovation. Peanut Labs enables companies to gather quality data for market research by embedding surveys into social networking sites. Users complete a preliminary profile questionnaire that enables Peanut Labs to target their respondents with the most relevant surveys. Those who meet the required criteria receive highly targeted survey invitations and are rewarded with virtual currency upon completion.
Since 2007, the company has expanded its partner base from 60 to over 400 highly diverse networks and applications, enabling researchers to access fresh respondents globally by profiling users from an online population of over 240 million unique individuals. In addition to its social media sample offering, the company provides services such as programming & hosting as well as listening.
Currently, Peanut Labs services over 400 market research firms and independent market researchers.