St. Paul startup Elevate lands $500k first round from Confluence & Icon

Elevate Research announced today that it has secured $500k in seed capital led by Confluence Capital and Icon Venture Partners, with participation from local angel investors Rob Weber and Mark Usem.

Elevate is described as “the easiest and most affordable way for restaurants and retailers to survey customers who recently dined in one of their restaurants or shopped in one of their stores.” In functional terms, the B2B app enables real time feedback, analytics and marketing automation.


Cofounded by Joe Stanton and CTO partner John Cohoon, the bootstrapped venture went to market in January and found traction out of the gate — landing notable local customers like Dunn Brothers, D. Brian’s Deli and My Burger — with paying customers across the country.

“Not only do we provide simple to use software, but we have the ability to deliver the right content at the right time based on the responses coming in from the surveys,” Stanton says. “That’s the edge we provide for our customers.”

Elevate plans to use the majority of the funds to fuel the expansion of its sales and marketing, with intentions of breaking into the hotel industry this fall.  As part of the deal, Ryan Broshar from Confluence and Jeff Hinck from Icon will be joining Elevate’s Board of Directors. It’s also a well timed boost for the venture with respect to the Minnesota Cup, heading into the finalist round.

“The funny thing is that we created Elevate for smaller restaurants and retailers,” Stanton explains. “There was no easy and affordable option for them. But what we’ve found is that larger organizations are drawn towards Elevate too. Easy to use and affordable are universal themes that are embraced by all types and sizes. And we are excited to have both the capital and partners now to bring it to the masses.”



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  • Chad Halvorson

    Awesome, Joe and John! Now get to work!