The Pivots with Nihal Advani | Ep. 185

Welcome to another interesting and informative episode of Data Gurus!

Sima is delighted to have Nihal Advani, the Founder, and CEO of QualSights, joining her today!

Nihal has been on an exciting journey since starting his first business. In today’s episode, he shares his story, gets into how he founded and pivoted his business, and talks about what they are doing at QualSights.

Nihal’s story

Nihal grew up in India and played tennis for the country. At eighteen, he came to the US to study and play college tennis. In his junior year of college, he was fortunate enough to be one of only ten people selected from more than 3,100 candidates to do an internship at Google. After graduating, he wanted to continue with tech. So he worked for Microsoft for five years and then decided to start a business.

Getting selected as a Google intern

Nihal got selected as an intern for Google for two reasons. One was that he knew Google inside out after spending an entire semester learning about all their various departments, so he crushed the interviews. The second was his background in sports.

Sports and entrepreneurs

Nihal believes that sports are important for entrepreneurs because they teach them the qualities they need, like teamwork, leadership, focus, determination, and persistence. Sports also teach entrepreneurs how to deal with losses and celebrate wins.

Nihal’s first startup

Nihal quit Microsoft in 2012 to start a travel planning company. It was called Georama and started as a recommendation engine to help people find places to go based on their budget, interests, and preferred activities. They were not making enough income by 2014, so Nihal decided to pivot into virtual travel and provide real-time video insights from anywhere in the world. They had great technology and attracted some decent clients, like Marriott, but he felt he had taken on too much.


In 2017, Nihal decided to focus on one single vertical. He found a program to help him select the right one and saw that the insights industry resonated very well with his value proposition.


So, in 2018, he pivoted to focus solely on insights. He rebranded Georama to become an all-in-one qualitative suite called QualSights. QualSights is a one-stop shop for deep consumer insights.

Growing fast

Nihal attributes QualSights’s fast growth to its accelerator platform and having had momentum.


Covid forced everyone to go digital. That forced people to use tools they would not have used otherwise. With digital, they found that they could do things fast and easily. With platforms like QualSights, they found additional tools like AI to help them make sense of all the data.

Remote ethnography

Remote ethnography is powerful because it allows clients to capture consumer insights in-person and in the consumers’ natural environments as they are cooking, cleaning, shopping, or eating.

The different stages of QualSights’s research projects:

  1. Recruiting (QualSights uses recruiting partners to help them move faster than traditional qualitative research.)
  2. Capturing (The QualSights platform starts with the capture side. 90% of their projects get done via their mobile app, and they have a suite of tools to capture the data.)
  3. Analyzing (QualSights has a suite of AI tools to help find the moments that matter and analyze the data.)
  4. Presenting (On the QualSights platform, photos, videos, audio, or whatever people have captured can be dragged to an area where they can be shared digitally and downloaded with one click.)

QualSights is the only platform with that much breadth and depth of capabilities.

QualSights’s positioning

Qualsights has clients across a wide range of industries, including CPG, pharma, tech, and retail.



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Connect with Nihal 

Nihal Advani on LinkedIn

QualSights on Twitter (@QualSights)