Why we raised a $2MM seed round and what's next for Maze

At Maze, our mission is to bring user testing to every design team. Last week we announced our Figma integration, which will enable Figma users to test their designs with real customers and build better products. We also just raised a $2MM seed round from Amplify Partners and previous investors, Seedcamp and Partech.

It's been an exciting few days, and as we're continuing to build Maze into the go-to testing platform for designers everywhere, we want to take a moment to share what this latest round means for Maze and what you can expect next.

The rundown

Designers have long been missing out on valuable data at the design phase simply because it was too difficult to collect it at scale.

Here at Maze, we believe products should be tested with customers early in the process. When design is validated at the design phase, both businesses and the end-users benefit as a result.

Significantly, design has been recognized as a great business investment — for every dollar invested in design, revenues and shareholder returns increase at twice the rate of industry counterparts. Design is a competitive advantage, or in the words of Thomas Watson Jr., "Good design is good business."

User research is integral to the design process. The best products in the world today are built by understanding people’s needs and solving real problems.

Yet until recently, most user research methods were expensive and time-consuming. As a result, design teams defaulted to user interviews or hallway tests as a means to get design in front of someone’s eyes.

While the product development process matured to accommodate agile solutions, new and better ways to get user research insights were still lacking. Designers have long been missing out on valuable data at the design phase simply because it was too difficult to collect it at scale.

The foundation

Today, more than 20,000 users have been testing their products' designs through our platform. We're proud to have companies such as IBM, Greenpeace, Accenture, BMW, and more use Maze to get data on their designs at scale and validate their products with users.

Businesses that share their products with customers early in the process avoid costly redevelopment and iteration fees. In fact, it’s a hundred times more expensive to fix a design issue post-development (Source: Gilb, 1988). With Maze, our focus has always been on turning a lengthy and outdated process into a five-minute action, compiling tens of thousands of data-points.

“Since we started using Maze, we’re no longer waiting for months on end to get insights from user testing. Instead, we get valuable user inputs immediately, and deliver fantastic user experiences with our products. Maze is breaking the myth that user testing is too expensive or time-consuming.”

Pitu Cabanillas, Senior UX Designer at IBM

In the year and a half since our product's first version—Maze v0—we introduced several features to help teams get better insights with their prototypes faster than ever. We allow you to hire test users directly from Maze, understand actions with Smart Heatmaps, get even more feedback with Rich Testing, and share results with the Maze Report.

And we just announced support for Figma—our most requested feature ever. Startups, freelancers, and companies wanting to do user testing now have built-in access to the tools they need all in one place.

The future
As a designer, you move through the entire design process trying to accommodate different requirements into what feels like a long and bumpy road to hand-off. From discovery and ideation to sketching and prototyping, the path to designing products is filled with uncertainty. Our long-term vision is to empower all design teams with the tools they need to test and validate ideas at each step of the design process.

We see this vision unfolding by automating essential parts of user research, such as the process of finding and recruiting test users, turning unmoderated sessions into conversational feedback loops, and providing a single source of truth for testing and iterating on design decisions.

Our goal is to enable you to move away from time-consuming and disjointed tasks to one-click actions that allow you to begin your research immediately.

We believe the democratization of user research for companies of all sizes will enable businesses to grasp the value of great design earlier and faster in their product development process. We're thrilled to be on this journey with such an amazing community. Thank you!

If you want to follow along, we’d love for you to join us at @mazedesignHQ.