Boston-based txteagle has raised $8.5 million in new funds, in a round led by Spark Capital; the company had raised just over $1 million last year.

Founded in 2009 by alums from MIT’s Media Lab and Harvard’s statistics department, txteagle helps companies and non-profits reach mobile users in emerging markets.

txteagle helps global organizations learn, educate and grow in emerging economies by leveraging the power of the mobile phone. Through a network of over 2.1 billion mobile phone subscribers across almost 100 developing countries, txteagle leverages the emerging market community for two inter-related services;

i) GroundTruth: gathering local data and opinions
ii) GroundSwell: leveraging those insights to improve consumer engagement.

Txteagle aims to make it easy to use mobile phones to conduct market research (and also do marketing once a product or service is available). Consumers qualified to participate in a given survey are compensated with free airtime.