London-based startup Maze has raised £350.000 in a round led by leading early-stage European funds Partech (San Francisco, Paris, Berlin, Dakar) and Seedcamp (London).
Maze is the first startup to perform quantitative user-testing at the design phase to provide designers with long awaited actionable KPIs. With this concept, Maze wants to fundamentally change the way digital products are built by allowing designers & product teams to iterate quickly and effectively until their design is proven.
Maze is the brain-child of long-time friends & co-founders Jonathan Widawski, ex-UX Lead at BAM, and Thomas Mary, former Lead Developer & Architect. They came up with the idea for Maze while working on their previous startup: “We had an in-depth prototype of the product and 1,500 users in our waiting list eager to try it out. We looked at the market for solutions allowing us to easily send the prototype to our testers, but only found qualitative, video-based recording tools: we didn’t have the time nor the resources to spend 500 hours looking at footages to extract insights. That’s what got us started on our path to create Maze: a data-driven approach to design validation”.
Thomas Mary adds: “The current design process creates a lot of frustration for product teams. Developers end up re-building features instead of implementing new ones simply because the initial design provided doesn’t work. This leads to a long and extremely costly iteration loop that could easily be solved by validating interfaces earlier.”
The team has already partnered with InVision and Marvel, the two world-leading prototyping tools, and is looking to integrate with more players as the company grows. Maze already counts more than 2,000 users, including designers from top tech companies (e.g. Uber, Ebay, IBM, Microsoft, Mastercard), digital agencies (e.g. Digitas, Multiplica, HikerCompany) and also freelance designers who couldn’t afford user-testing solutions until then.
On the vision, Jonathan Widawski adds: “At Maze we think that user testing solutions don’t align with today’s lean and agile way of building product, and we're convinced that our tool will help solve this. We want to make user testing & user research streamlined and affordable for designers, finally giving them a seat at the table when it comes to data.”
Boris Golden who led the investment for Partech adds: "The vision of Maze is totally inevitable. After so many years of evangelization about the importance of reducing the feedback loop (notably via the 'lean startup' movement), it is amazing that nobody has come up yet with what Maze is doing! Bringing a data-driven and quantitative mindset to the design world has the potential to create huge business value, but also to remove the pain of navigating in the dark and wasting resources, as many designers, product managers, and developers experience daily! And beyond the vision, we are huge fans of the team that has the right mix of talent to make this happen."
The London-based European seed fund, Seedcamp, has supported over 260 startups in the last 10 years, including European unicorns like Revolut, Transferwise and UiPath. On the investment, Seedcamp Venture Partner, Devin Hunt, comments: “Maze has transformed user testing, one of the most laborious aspects of product design, into a simple, fast, and quantifiable experience. Once you use it, you can’t imagine not having Maze in your design toolkit. I can’t wait to see the impact Maze will have on the product design profession. Suffice to say, we’re very excited to welcome Maze to the Seedcamp Nation.”