Thursday, January 14, 2021

Austin Start-Up Aims to Become Nielsen for Gen Z Consumers

The Knit Team

When PurPics was first being developed in a dorm room at the University of Virginia, the idea was simple: connect big brands with Gen Z consumers. Young adults used their sway as social media influencers to help companies promote their products, and the companies made donations toward social causes.

The idea gained traction with several big players like Shake Shack and Clif Bar. The startup raised a pre-seed round and was accepted into Techstars' Farm to Fork accelerator.

But now The Austin Business Journal reports,  after moving to Austin in early 2019, the startup is making a couple of significant changes.

Co-founder and CEO Aneesh Dhawan said the company has rebranded to Knit and shifted its mission. Now, instead of using social media channels to help brands reach Gen Z consumers, the startup is connecting brands directly with its network of 60,000 young adults to provide detailed consumer insights from text-based surveys and short video Q&As.

Knit is particularly focused on working with emerging CPG brands, which it can help in the development phase as founders and engineers build their products to target specific audiences. Dhawan said this is a major blind spot for many CPG startups — they don't talk to potential customers enough during product development.

Such feedback can be critical to tweaking design and marketing plans ahead of launch. But you have to know how to reach the right people, which is where Knit has a strong start with activations on hundreds of college campuses. Dhawan said students tend to be interested in social good and fundraising. And, of course, they also respond quickly to texts and video.

"The vision for this company is really just understanding not necessarily just Gen Z, but that next generation of consumers," Dhawan said. "We like to think about ourselves as like the Nielsen for Gen Z. If you have a question about this next generation, whether it's Gen Z, whether it's Gen A, we're going to be really that one-stop shop for that data."

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