I began my career in research quite by accident. As an undergraduate student at Georgia Tech, I rotated between academic and work semesters. The arrangement was part of their cooperative education program. I was a computer science major, and my first co-op job was with IBM Global Learning Services. While I was scheduled to start another rotation with IBM in January of 2005, I was notified in December that the lab would soon be closing and my position had been eliminated. With limited class availability and a need to work, I went to my co-op advisor looking for a new gig that would help to develop my skills. The next day, he happened to get an email from the founder of Infosurv Research, a small market research firm in Atlanta.
The company was interested in hiring a co-op student with a development background to help rebuild their website and improve their digital marketing. I started working at Infosurv just a few weeks later and continued on with the company for the next 18 years. Talk about stumbling into a career!
During my time at Infosurv, I played virtually every role in the company and quickly earned a “jack-of-all-trades” reputation. Some of my duties included designing marketing campaigns, designing surveys, writing reports, analyzing data, evaluating new tech, building new tech, standardizing processes… you name it. I had a hand in virtually everything at one point or another during my time there.
In 2009, Infosurv's founder and I developed an interest in prediction markets. We saw a great deal of potential for these virtual marketplaces to help us solve the age-old question, “How can we be better, faster, and cheaper than our competition?” We wanted to be everything for our clients (and not just have to settle for two of those three, as the old adage goes).
Ultimately, we wanted to disrupt.
Over the next few years, we developed and patented an approach that we initially dubbed the “Infosurv Concept Exchange.” In our virtual markets, respondents (or traders as we like to call them) could “bet” on new product concepts they felt had a high likelihood of becoming successful if launched. Our approach relied on the “wisdom of crowds” and utilized samples from the general population.
The product originally lived under the Infosurv brand. For a few years, we struggled to develop a new business founded on it, despite having a highly innovative and proven method that we knew had enormous potential. Rather than moving on, we spent some time troubleshooting. We soon realized that a big part of our problem was in our brand positioning.
Infosurv was a 15-year-old company offering more traditional research solutions for customer feedback, employee engagement, and consumer research. It relied on inbound leads from search engines to drive growth. The Infosurv Concept Exchange, on the other hand, was wildly different from anything else in the market at the time, and it needed its own identity.
Over the next six months, we built the Intengo brand from the ground up, developing our name, logo, and core positioning elements. We finally launched Intengo as its own entity in October of 2013, and by the end of the following year, our revenue had more than doubled. A few years later, we surpassed 300% revenue growth from our baseline in 2013.
From 2013 to 2015, I spent 110% of my time and energy on building the Intengo brand. Our growth was promising, and we continued to reinvest in the company by building new products for crowdsourced ideation to help our clients tap into crowd wisdom.
In 2015, I was asked to step back into Infosurv as CEO while continuing in my role as “Idea Accelerator” at Intengo. I welcomed the challenge, mainly because Infosurv had such a strong team, allowing me to effectively split time between the companies. From 2015 to 2023, I led both companies until an acquisition by Savanta in January of this year. I’m now an SVP at Savanta, where I continue to focus on growth for the Infosurv & Intengo portfolios.
It certainly hasn’t been an easy road, but I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I am incredibly grateful that I’ve gotten to work with a group of people that I really enjoy and care about for 18 years running! Having such a great team has made work a pleasure. In fact, one of the career highlights I’m most proud of is successfully transforming our operations to a remote working environment, so we could all have more time for family and more flexibility in our personal lives.
If I had to sum up my greatest professional highlights, they would probably include:
- Graduating Cum Laude from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in Business Management and a Certificate in Marketing while simultaneously starting my career
- Receiving a utility patent on the prediction market methodology we designed at Infosurv
- Leading a successful exodus of our physical office before remote working was trending (13 years running!)
- Leading the successful acquisition of Infosurv and Intengo by Savanta
- Being named a finalist for the TMRE EXPLOR Award, NGMR Disruptive Innovator Award, and Greenbook’s Insights Innovation Competition
If you want to learn more, connect with me on LinkedIn or feel free to reach out!
Kyle Burnam is the CEO of Infosurv and the leader of its sister company, Intengo, where he oversees all client research and R&D projects. Having been in the industry since 2005, Kyle brings a wealth of experience to the table and an innovative eye to every project.