citybiz+ Prelaunch Raises $1.5 Million in Seed Funding

Prelaunch, a so-called “product validation” platform, raised $1.5 million in a seed round, and said it would use the proceeds to “establish a strong presence” in the United States.

The round was led by Armenia’s venture firm BigStory, and included other Armenian investors — Formula VC, Granatus Ventures and the Business Angel Network of Armenia — and Los Angeles-based Vahe Kuzoyan, co-founder of ServiceTitan.

The Armenia-linked Prelaunch operates in the United States under the umbrella of TCF, a marketing agency headquartered in Newark, Del. TCF, which was co-founded by Prelaunch CEO Narek Vardanyan in 2017, offers a range of services include crowdfunding and ecommerce.

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Vardanyan, the founder of Prelaunch, says the product validation platform emerged from his discovery that every current method to assess people’s opinions about new products has broken down. He says he is now pioneering a new “reservation funnel” — a system that discovers tangible proof of customers’ purchase intent by requiring them to make a small actual monetary commitment of $10-20..

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“When potential customers place a reservation — that’s when their opinions matter!” said Vardanyan. “This reservation confirms their actual buying intent and shows whether they really desire to buy the product.” Insights and opinions gathered through Prelaunch’s surveys and discussions are highly-qualified and relevant as the buying intent has already been confirmed, he said, adding: “It changes everything.”

Prelaunch offers a range of services besides product and price validation. It offers technology to seamlessly display products and services on its platform, monitor analytics and provide customer insights. A year after its official launch, Prelaunch claims 2,000 registered brands and access to nearly one million community members and potential buyers. Its customers include e-bike-maker Fuell, co-founded by former Harley-Davidson engineer Erik Buell.