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Q&A with AMPLYFI
We spoke to Dr. Yunus Saatchi, Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer at AMPLYFI about the company, the product and the future...
GF: What does the company do?
Yunus: AMPLYFI is a start-up that specialises in mining, interpreting and presenting data from the Surface and the Deep Web using Artificial Intelligence. This is done to identify potential technology disruptions, highlight possible market changes, conduct risk assessments and deliver competitor intelligence to name but a few!
GF: What's your background, Yunus?
Yunus: I gained my PhD in Artificial Intelligence at Cambridge University, my MSc in Informatics at Edinburgh University and my BSc in Computer Science, again, at Cambridge University. Although after spending my post-PhD years in research teaching computers to perform tasks that humans do poorly, I firmly believe that the future lies in teaching computers to perform tasks that humans naturally excel at.
GF: Who are your co-founders and what are their backgrounds?
Yunus: Our team is a world-class, close-knit group of people with extensive experience spanning Artificial Intelligence, software engineering and design, emerging technologies, finance and entrepreneurship. The co-founders, especially, have strong backgrounds in strategy development across the energy, financial services and telecoms sectors.
GF: Why is there a need for the AMPLYFI product, platform & service?
Yunus: The rapid pace of technological and market change in today’s increasingly interconnected world means that no industry or sector is safe from disruption. Monitoring for early warnings of potential disruptions has never been so critical and organisations that fail to do so are at risk of losing market share or even face obsolescence. Notable examples include the hotel industry and Airbnb, personal mobility and Uber, and 3D printing and manufacturing. The challenge of maintaining a competitive advantage in fast moving, dynamic and increasingly global markets has typically forced companies to rely on a limited number of internal experts or external consultants.
As a source of business and social intelligence, although the internet holds the key to ensuring success and, even, survival, for many entities, it remains a vast and largely untapped resource. For instance, less than 1% of the internet’s content can be found using a standard “Surface Web” search engine like Google, Yahoo! or Bing. Beneath the Surface Web lies the “Deep Web.” The Deep Web is an enormous knowledge store, full of rich data-sets including academic journals, government databases, ideation platforms, blogs, patents, message boards and financial records etc. It is arguably the world’s most valuable untapped resource.
Although the internet is increasingly being used as a source of intelligence to inform business decisions, standard search engines are best suited to answering very specific questions i.e. cheapest flight, highest mountain, etc. Even then, they present users with only a narrow view of the information available on the internet. Moreover, users predominantly rely on a very limited sub-set, often less than ten, of potentially millions of search results returned, to inform their views or make decisions. Unlocking the internet’s vast potential to provide intelligent, fast and actionable insight would represent a quantum leap forward in business intelligence capability. This can only be achieved by using the right application of Artificial Intelligence and is precisely what we are doing at AMPLYFI.
GF: What does DataVoyant do?
Yunus: AMPLYFI has created DataVoyant, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tool that combines Surface and Deep Web harvesting with AI and data visualisation into a single, intuitive user-driven platform. DataVoyant is revolutionising the speed, accuracy, quality and cost of securing and acting on business intelligence. It empowers users with the ability to uncover emerging opportunities, spot new developments, and monitor threats as well as track market drivers and trends ahead of the competition. It has been designed to be both flexible and usable by anyone - ranging from subject matter experts to novices.
GF: Why is DataVoyant a good solution?
Yunus: DataVoyant, AMPLYFI's offering, is a good solution for several reasons. Firstly, there's speed – the most comprehensive of DataVoyant searches will take between 24-48 hours to deliver results distilled from potentially millions of source and reference materials whereas a typical full-scale project assessment may take only 1-2 weeks to complete; a sharp contrast to the traditional consultancy-led approach that can easily take 2-3 months. We then have confidentiality – by removing the need for external consultants and third-party support, all intelligence and strategic lines of thinking and inquiry are retained securely in-house which in turn allows for intelligent data harvesting where there is no requirement for users to have existing data-sets or know what data sources are required for their analysis. DataVoyant intelligently finds and harvests relevant sources from both the Surface and Deep web, and is equally at home with Structured and Unstructured data.
In addition to these benefits, DataVoyant provides innovative agnostic perspectives as data is reviewed and interpreted without the pre-conceived notions or biases that typically influence human decisions (e.g. personal opinions, management plans, company portfolio etc.). DataVoyant simply reports the facts. These facts are provided through continuous scanning and repeatable results which means the client benefits from continual monitoring of market and technology trends as frequently as is required. DataVoyant highlights changes in relevant areas of interest and the emergence of new potentially relevant insights.
All of these elements lead to improved quality of intelligence, with human intervention, DataVoyant is capable of processing and interpreting millions of sources harvested from the entire Surface and Deep Web to identify trends, activities, key people, geographies, companies, universities, technologies, patterns, behaviours and correlations.
The final, but one of the most important reasons that DataVoyant is a good solution is the fact it is multilingual and therefore analyses content across all modern languages, ensuring a huge variety of sources from around the world are harvested and compiled into the most comprehensive dataset possible. Results are normalized back to the users native language.
All of these elements lead to the production of business and Artificial intelligence in an accessible format – an intuitive, user-friendly interface which allows even non-subject matter experts to learn, and derive intelligence and insights, whilst providing subject matter experts with the ability to delve deep into their interest area.
These are the few key reasons I think DataVoyant is a good solution, but I could list them all day!
GF: What are your company objectives?
Yunus: With a development pipeline of future product offerings already in place, we will continue to scale and grow over the next few years with a view to becoming a global leader in the business intelligence market and in the provision of technology-driven strategic insight.
GF: What are your biggest achievements to date?
Yunus: For a startup business we've completed a significant quantity of good quality work and received a lot of recognition in our first years of business such as being identified by Project Juno as one of Europe’s leading AI start-ups, being listed as a key AI company globally by AI Business Org, receiving the 2017 Game Changer Award from Finance Monthly, getting names as one of Innovation Point's 2016 Digital Dozen and much, much more!
We've received these recognitions and awards through the completion of 12 pilot programmes with some of the largest companies in the world and this has also landed us a convertible loan note from Finance Wales, a £400k unsecured 0% interest loan and the anchoring of our current funding round with a £420,000 equity investment by Finance Wales also.
As a business, and group of people, we couldn't have asked for more in the initial years of business, but we're excited for the future and look forward to gaining more traction, recognition and knowledge in our sector.
GF: What will the investment capital be used for and why?
Yunus: Our current funding round will be used to build the team allowing us to fully commercialise and scale our first product offering DataVoyant. This will then, in turn, allow us to diversify into new products, sectors and markets.