14 December 2023, London – Prolific, a UK scale-up founded to help researchers secure high-quality data through easy access to verified and vetted participants, today announces new figures showing another year of strong growth, six months after a successful Series A funding round. Key figures include:
• In 2023, Prolific worked with 17 frontier AI model developers, including Nugget AI, Papercup, and Imbue, fuelling 5x revenue growth from AI clients.
• It secured 22 partnerships, including AI-powered market-research platform Remesh, user research experts Maze, and open-source AI fine-tuning platform Argilla.
• A champion of ethical treatment in research and AI training, it has paid out over $120m to research participants since 2014.
In 2023, Prolific has seen huge demand for its platform from organisations looking to source reliable human insights to improve and train their AI models. This builds on existing use of Prolific by leading Ivy League universities and corporations, including Yale and Google, who connect with the platform’s unrivalled pool of vetted taskers and research participants.
In July, Prolific announced it had raised £25m in one of the UK’s largest Series A rounds in 2023, co-led by Partech and Oxford Science Enterprises. This funding was secured to help broaden its AI offerings and establish a stronger presence in the United States, home to over half of its current customer base, including Kickstarter and Stanford University.
Six months on, Prolific announces it has invested this funding into product development, its growing partnership base, and global expansion. Prolific platform launches in 2023 include:
• Prolific Protocol: a proprietary system to verify trustworthy and engaged participants and detect unwanted AI use, the latter supported by Gorilla Experiment Builder.
• Niche participants: vetted and curated groups of participants with specialist skills.
• New study options: including mutually exclusive studies and multiple-submission studies – common methodologies in AI training.
• AI annotation tool integrations: store and distribute login details to participants.
Prolific secured 22 new partnerships in 2023, including Remesh, Maze, and Argilla. Partners integrate with the Prolific platform, connecting their products to Prolific’s unrivalled participant pool. An advocate of open-source projects, Prolific also made one of its own social reasoning datasets available via popular open-source community HuggingFace.
In November, Prolific won a place on Deloitte’s highly-coveted UK Technology Fast 50 list, which ranks the UK’s fastest-growing technology businesses. The company also celebrated being a finalist in the Scaleup of the Year category at The Europas Awards, which has recognised ambitious and innovative startups including Deliveroo, Spotify, and Transferwise.
Phelim Bradley, CEO of Prolific, reflects on 2023: “AI represents one of the biggest leaps forward in technology in decades and Prolific’s unique approach to human data sourcing positions us to make these systems more accountable and less biased.”
“Our platform doesn’t just offer insights; it powers world-changing research. We’re excited to bring these advantages to new markets at a pivotal moment in the progression of AI. Prolific’s platform empowers cutting-edge AI developers to access an unparalleled spectrum of diverse data, spanning gender, sexuality, race, age, demographics, and sector expertise, enabling everyone to help design a future where we can encourage more responsible inputs, and more equitable outputs, for AI models.”
Reflecting on its investment in the company earlier this year, Omri Benayoun, General Partner at Partech, said, “Prolific has built an incredibly powerful online platform for research. Its roots in academia means that it has applied the highest standards to quality, while its technical expertise brings innovation that sets it apart from anything else out there. Where others rely on manual recruitment methods, Prolific has built a research infrastructure covering everything from the recruiting and vetting of participants to integration of research tools. Prolific is poised to conquer global leadership in academia and is also perfectly placed to aid the development of AI.”
Summarising their partnership with Prolific, Andrew Santana, Head of Panel Management at Remesh, said, “We’re thrilled with our partnership with Prolific. Their rapid project execution and exceptional deliverable quality, evident in a sub-1% removal rate for qualitative research, complemented by an intuitive setup and detailed profiling, have been instrumental in meeting and often exceeding our client expectations.”
Prolific is a platform that enables researchers to collect high-quality human-powered data at scale from a large, vetted pool of research participants and taskers. Using the Prolific platform researchers can target, contact, and manage research participants from Prolific’s diverse, vetted and fairly-treated pool – to deliver world-changing research and the next generation of AI. The company recently celebrated securing a position on Deloitte’s UK Technology Fast 50 list, announced in November 2023.
Further information for journalists
Facts about Prolific:
• Prolific was founded at Oxford University in 2014.
• Since launching, Prolific has run 750,000+ studies, collecting 100 million+ responses from 500,000+ participants for 100,000+ researchers in 200 countries.
• Over 30,000 researchers and 10,000 organisations have been active on the Prolific platform in 2023.
• A new study is launched on the Prolific platform every 3 minutes – 480 studies every day.
Examples of research undertaken on the Prolific platform in 2023:
• Sentience Institute, an interdisciplinary think tank, researched societal responses to AI focusing on autonomy and sentience, recruiting 250 participants per study via Prolific to understand how people perceive and judge AI capabilities. Participants’ perceptions suggested that more autonomous and sentient AI should have greater moral consideration, yet increased sentience also raised concerns about potential harm.
• Eye-tracking app BioEye leveraged Prolific’s seamless app integration and robust filtering tools to swiftly gather high-quality data, enhancing their eye-tracking algorithm and identifying device-specific issues like slower response times on certain models. This partnership not only refined their technology but also aligned with their goal of democratising brain health monitoring.
• Space startup Braided Communications investigated the impact of time-delayed communication in space missions and workplace collaboration. They recruited 267 participants using Prolific, completing a study showing that their communication tool improved collaborative problem-solving during time-delayed communication by 19%. This success led to the opportunity to apply their findings to enhance Earth-based meetings, particularly for introverted and neurodivergent individuals.