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Spare5 Raises $10 Million from Foundry Group, Madrona Venture Group and New Enterprise Associates to Turn Big Data into Micro-Tasks

On-Demand Insights Platform Ignites the ‘Do It When I Want Economy’ to Make Spare Time Valuable for Businesses and Consumers

SEATTLE, Aug. 25, 2015 — Spare5, the platform that solves big-data business challenges by turning them into micro-tasks people can perform in their spare time for extra cash, today announced a $10 million Series A round of funding led by Foundry Group, Madrona Venture Group and New Enterprise Associates (NEA). With this investment, Spare5 will grow its engineering, design, marketing, community management and customer relationship capabilities. Spare5 customers include e-commerce companies and other organizations with rich digital content needs.

A recent study reports that more than 160 million Americans spend nearly five hours on their smartphones every day. Spare5 lets businesses use some of this time to solve tough data problems that are impossible for computers to crack on their own. Tasks such as image tagging, keyword creation, and unstructured data classification require human intelligence, and Spare5 delivers it in a scalable, reliable, cost-effective way.

Known as “Fives,” the people who complete micro-tasks for Spare5’s customers are part of a robust community organized around interests, knowledge, and performance. This makes it easy for businesses to find skills that match a given need and get high-quality results quickly. For Fives, Spare5 delivers a fun, engaging experience—and the opportunity to earn money for time they would otherwise spend on social media or gaming. Companies can also survey Fives about products, pricing, and various topics to gain insights rapidly.

“There will always be data challenges that businesses can’t solve with computing power alone,” said Spare5 CEO and Co-Founder Matt Bencke. “We’re using technology to scale the unique capabilities of the human mind. For our customers, it’s a fast and cost-effective way to achieve results that would otherwise be impossible. Whether you’re selling online, publishing rich content, or training a machine learning engine, you need to know what people think. We deliver that knowledge with game-changing quality and value.”

While many observers have commented on the rise of an “on-demand” economy, Bencke sees things a little differently. “On-demand has been around forever. Restaurants are on-demand. Taxis are on-demand. What we’re supporting is a ‘do it when I want economy.’ Fives can choose when and where they want to contribute. They can exercise their minds, have fun, and make a bit of money whenever they feel like it—all in moments that would otherwise be frittered away.”

Customers agree that Spare5 reduces the cost and complexity of data-intensive tasks. “A significant portion of our sales is driven by product findability and SEO,” said Getty Images CTO Steve Heck. “Spare5 allows us to improve the quality of our metadata without having to spend valuable resources training or outsourcing. The fact it also scales with our operations makes Spare5 an ideal partner.”

“Spare5 is strongly focused on business data needs and has built a uniquely engaged and capable community to address those needs with high-quality insights,” said Jon Sakoda, General Partner, NEA. “Their technology platform takes the complexity out of micro-tasking and makes it more rewarding and productive for both customers and contributors. This investment will help them further tap the potential of this vast resource while scaling to meet growing demand.”

Spare5 was founded in October 2014 by Matt Bencke, Daryn Nakhuda, Patrick O’Donnell and Matt Shobe. After an incubation under the guidance of Madrona Venture Labs, the company raised a $3.25M round in November of 2014 from the same group of investors behind the funding announced today.

About Spare5
Spare5 scales the power of human intelligence to meet big data challenges that can’t be solved by computers alone. Spare5 community members, referred to as Fives tag photos, rate items, answer surveys, and perform other micro-tasks on their smartphones in their spare time for extra cash. For more information visit .