60 Decibels raises $8.8M to enable listening at scale for global stakeholder engagement and impact measurement
60 Decibels, which spun out of impact investor Acumen in 2019, raises $8.8 million from FPE Capital in their Series A funding round. The company will use the investment to accelerate adoption of global benchmarks for impact performance, based on data gathered directly from end stakeholders.
NEW YORK — 60 Decibels, a customer insights company that makes it easy to listen to the people who matter most — underserved customers, employees and producers around the world — closed $8.8 million in Series A funding to end a year of record growth in 2021. The investment was made by FPE Capital, a software and services-focused lower mid-market growth investor based in the UK, as a combination of new growth capital and secondary purchase of existing shares. 60 Decibels works with leading impact investors, companies, foundations and nonprofits, including the Rockefeller Foundation, Flourish Ventures, Visa, Generation Investment Management, SAP, Unilever and Primark, to listen directly to customers and suppliers to measure and benchmark social performance.
“At 60 Decibels, we believe that listening to those directly impacted by social enterprises and impact investments is essential to improving performance and maximizing impact,” said Sasha Dichter, CEO of 60 Decibels. “In the last eighteen months, COVID-19 has accelerated our growth by creating urgency for understanding the needs, challenges, and experiences of populations around the world. Our approach is uniquely suited to make it easier for investors and enterprises to gather timely data at scale, and understand that data relative to peer benchmarks.”
Lean Data, 60 Decibels’ unique approach to social impact measurement, was incubated at Acumen, a patient capital investor, starting in 2013. 60 Decibels spun out as an independent entity in early 2019 to expand its offering of beneficiary-level data collection and analysis to a global client base. Initial investors in the spin out included Acumen, Ceniarth, and the DOEN Foundation.
In 2021, 60 Decibels closed more than $10M in new sales and has grown its global research network to 831 trained researchers across 69 countries who speak 125+ languages. These researchers, who conduct phone surveys in local languages, listened to more than 100,000 individuals around the world in 2021 — customers being served by improved off-grid energy, agriculture, education, financial inclusion, quality jobs, and more.
“Our expertise is focused on investing in high quality, technology enabled, companies operating in large markets where we can support the team in their growth ambitions,” said David Barbour, Managing Partner at FPE. “We are really excited to be backing the 60 Decibels team; the ESG sector has seen significant growth and promises to be a major focus for the corporate and investment industry in the future, and 60 Decibels is ideally placed to improve transparency and comparability around underlying social impact at scale.”
The growth capital investment from FPE will help 60 Decibels accelerate the adoption and insights of customer ratings and benchmarking in the impact sector, and to capitalize on ESG-driven market demand for data and insight around societal impact. 60 Decibels will invest in sales and marketing, as well as further technology enablement to improve efficiency and advance a data subscription business model.
“I’ve seen dozens of industries wake up to the value of comparable customer data for executive-level decisions on everything from product design to market positioning to business strategy,” said Steve Goodall, 60 Decibels Board Chair and former President and CEO of J.D. Power and Associates. “I don’t think it will be long before customer impact ratings are an expected and obvious part of impact management, and 60 Decibels has become the go-to provider for this data with the strongest impact performance benchmarks in the sector.”
Since closing the funding round in December, co-founders Sasha Dichter and Tom Adams are positioning 60 Decibels for the next stage of growth. Sasha Dichter has taken on the role of CEO, and Tom Adams will become the company’s Chief Strategy Officer.
For more information, visit 60decibels.com
About 60 Decibels
60 Decibels is a global, tech-enabled impact measurement company that brings speed and repeatability to social impact measurement and customer insights. They provide genuine benchmarks of impact performance, enabling organizations to understand impact relative to peers and set performance targets. They have a network of 800+ researchers in 69 countries, and have worked with more than 350 of the world’s leading impact investors, companies, foundations, corporations, NGOs, and public sector organizations. 60 Decibels makes it easy to listen to the people who matter most.
FPE is a specialist growth private equity investor focused on the software and services sectors. It invests in lower mid-market UK and Irish software and services companies with advantaged business models that offer significant growth potential in large markets that are undergoing structural change. It is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. www.fpecapital.com