Research and development in big data are showing a great potential with revolutionary solutions for companies ed entrepreneurs in a wide range of industries and markets. With a raw definition, big data is a universe of information and data publicly available on the Internet without a defined structure, that could be ordered and divided into huge data sets. A new status in your social network, an online purchase, a blog post are composing an infinite mosaic offering connections and insights that can be revealed only using advanced and revolutionary technologies. It’s a high potential resource that can provide analysis and insights to companies and decision makers while defining a financial o marketing strategy as well as improve their products or services through R&D specific targets.
There’s a wide range of startups leading innovation in this segment, both in USA and Europe. One of the most interesting ones is Kuldat that set up a suite of powerful analysis tools specifically developed for companies and SMEs willing to have a “virtual analyst”. It’s a revolutionary method to deeply understand a company’s market and industry, reach an effective segmentation, deliver a smart forecast of the moves of the main competitors or unveil hidden needs of the target customers.
After the good success of Startup Look-up! and the experience of SMAU tech exhibition in Rome, we’ve interviewed Marco Visibelli, CEO of Kuldat, who provided us an enthusiastic glance at the big data trends and future, as well as his personal business adventure in reshaping the way we intend marketing.
Why did you decide to invest in the Big Data industry and to launch Kuldat?
Everything started in 2012 and very few people really knew that the project was focusing on Big Data. We worked in “stealth mode” fore a year and more improving our technology and showing only to a selected pool of people our achievements. Everything started because of my personal professional background: I’ve worked with big data systems especially in the finance industry where investments in this technology development have always been relevant. I believed that in the other industries very few players were focusing on these technologies mostly because of the few practical and concrete advantages. That’s why I had my idea of supporting companies in finding new business development methods thorugh a fine understanding of clients and target markets processing big data available on the internet. We had a very good feedback since the first steps of the startup and we’ve quickly been funded with enough capital to get things started.
What competitive advantages does Kuldat offer to its potential clients? What’s the added value of your services?
Kuldat supports companies in finding new business development methods providing informations and insights that would have a high cost in terms of time and money without our services. Kuldat helps the companies in deeply understanding their target markets, the right products that customers would appreciate and the strategic moves of the main competitors. Kuldat goes beyond a simple analysis of the social networks data, gathering information from more than 62.000 online resources daily. It’s like having a virtual analyst with an unprecedented expertise in your focus industry and target market, providing a constantly updated overview and insight on what’s happening around your business.
What are the main opportunities for the development of your business in Italy? The heaviest challenges? What’s the most interesting target in your opinion?
We started our product test in Italy not only for commercial purposes but beacuse of the strong feedback and interest we feel on this type of technology. Italian companies have been avoiding to face a proper competion for many years and now the need a focused support to market their products in a global market extremely competitive. Family owned SMEs really need to understand what’s happening in their industry, because they’re facing international and structured competitors. Our target companies are mostly SMEs providing products and solutions in market niches, that are implementing an international business development strategy as well as bigger companies facing top international market players and experienced customers worldwide.
Many angel investors and VC funds in USA have been focusing on startups in your segment (like Palantir for example) using the network theories to provide unique insights and analysis systems to corporate clients. Where do you locate Kuldat in this industry? Who are the players really delivering the most innovative solutions in your opinion?
Companies like Palantir have been doing a great job in providing insight and analysis solutions that are improved every day. Other players like Tellapart have a business model more similar to Kuldat and try to improve commercial achievements of corporate clients, through processing sales data provided by the customers connecting their internal environments.
The big issue, in our opionion, regarding big data projects relies in the high costs of implementing such technologies. We also have to keep in mind that the first generation of these systems could easily have lowest ROI compared to the average expectations. Our company strategy is to deliver these technologies in a wide market at affordable costs. We can provide this solution because of daily processed public data on the internet. We imagine to combine demographic info with potential sales locations, to cross compare comments and posts on consumer blogs, or simply comparing commercial offers for the same range of products. This universe of data is already public, our systems simply provide you a detailed insight to make sense of a huge amount of data.
What are the most disruptive and innovative trends in big data? Who’s reshaping the market?
Personally I’ve been very enthusiast in this period because we’re seeing many valuable solutions, hopefully really concrete in the future. I really appreciate the Watson Project by IBM (even if not because of the pure big data technology!) that’s the first cognitive system able to process information like a real human being. The system became famous because its successful challenge with a human competitor in Jeopardy. Practical implementations will be soon available from healthcare (disease diagnosis) to biotech research.
I also appreciate Stylesight and WSGN: daring and innovative projects by startups trying to determine the fashion trends. This generation of big data projects, in my opinion, have to demonstrate their real value and the key issue is to provide practical and successful implementations.
It’s hard to say who’s reshaping the market, the match has just started, and everybody often forget that the biggest company in big data is Google who won’t remain in the corner. For example many don’t know about Hadoop, that’s one of the most used frameworks in big data that’s inspired by MapReduce that is a solution by Google. The Mountain View company won’t passively remain staring at its competitors.
Tell us about the hardest troubles you’ve experienced and…the funniest moments in your business adventure.
We had the biggest troubles in finding good software developers. Finding good first level developers or data scientist is like hiring a rockstar. We’ve been lucky in finding some of the best ones in the market after our first funding round and I’m proud of the tem we’ve built. The funniest thing is that now all our staff works remotely, (chat, mail, calls). I hired one of my team mates and I’ve worked with her for six months before our first phisical meeting.