30Under30 Honouree: Ranulph Tees

Great to hear from our 2023 Global 30-under30 honouree, Ranulph Tees who is Co-Founder of SurveyMind: a Transcription and Analysis Platform designed for Market Researchers to find Insights Faster.

At my previous start-up, I conducted an enormous amount of Market Research in order to gain product-market-fit. Fast forward several years, and in 2021 I was having coffee with my soon-to-be co-founder Alex Sunley, who was a researcher for the UK Government at the time. He and I realized there is enormous potential to improve market research, by applying breakthrough techniques in A.I. to the field. We set out to build SurveyMind as a state-of-the-art transcription and analysis engine for focus groups and interviews. Since launch, we are now working with a number of leading Research Agencies and Insight teams across 5 continents.

“SurveyMind has reignited my passion for Qualitative Research.”

Feedback like the above from one of our clients makes me so proud. It is amazing to think that we have built a platform that makes researchers’ work enormously more enjoyable, and gives them the time to focus on the truly important things, like talking to customers and generating insights.

(1) When I was a junior myself, a senior member of staff gave me the following feedback on how to write up a powerful piece of research: “You’re writing for 4 different audiences: those who read the title, those who read the intro, those who skim the document, and those who read the whole report in depth.

(2) Learn Actively. Do this throughout your career, but especially at the start. When you are 18 to 25, your mind is still plastic and absorbs information readily. Use this time as an opportunity to network, build your CV, and develop the fundamental research skills that allow you to handle any project however big or small. And remember, however good you are at doing research, you must have good communication and soft skills: build these as soon as possible, and continually refine them.

I’d advise you to start with what we do best: conducting thorough market research. Make it a point to connect with professionals across the spectrum – those working with brands, within agencies, and even freelancers. It’s essential to grasp what each position entails and identify where your skills and interests might align. The insights industry is diverse, and understanding the different career paths available can help you make a more informed decision. One thing to remember is that market researchers tend to spend a lot of time asking questions, so we find they are very receptive when the tables are turned and they are in the hot seat. 

My key piece of advice would be to empower your teams to innovate. This means fostering a culture where everyone feel encouraged to try out new products, methodologies, and approaches without the fear of immediate repercussions if things don’t go as planned. The principle of ‘asking for forgiveness, not permission’ is crucial here. It’s about shifting the mindset from overly cautious to boldly experimental. For example, encourage your teams to brainstorm and test new ideas and products, whether it’s a novel data collection method, a different analytical tool, or a unique approach to engaging with respondents. This could mean adopting new technologies, leveraging AI, learning more creatively, or exploring uncharted demographics for research. By going further to empower your teams, you’re not only fostering a culture of innovation but also building a more resilient and adaptive organisation. 

First and foremost my co-founder Alex Sunley, without whom SurveyMind would not exist. Our early customers are a cohort to whom we will be forever grateful. You gave a chance to a small company, and have improved our platform with your active feedback tremendously. And finally, we are enormously thankful to all the mentors and supporters, some of whom have been quoted above, who have supported us on our journey.