Social listening applications were flawed; they were missing context. Along came WordNerds to help people make sense of data.
You'll find WordNerds in the Northern Powerhouse Business Summit's showcase!
Tell us about your business, what does it do?
WordNerds use AI, Natural Language Processing and Concordance Linguistics to help organsations understand enormous amounts of text data. We use this in social listening, review monitoring, and helping organisations make sense of their own data.
And what’s your USP? What makes you different; innovative?
There are a lot of amazing big data companies out there, processing and visualising numbers. But 80% of all data comes in the form of unstructured text. The answers to your business' challenges are in words: people right now are talking about your products, expressing an urgent need for your service, giving their opinions on the issues that matter to you. But because language is vast, nebulous, loud, confusing, sarcastic, diverse, surprising, colloquial and fluid, people ignore it when looking for data solutions to business problems. We're uniquely able to understand this data, cut through the noise, and deliver actionable insight.
What’s your role in the business; how did you get to where you are now?
I'm Director of Linguistics at WordNerds. I was working as a Linguist when Pete Daykin of top Gateshead agency Daykin & Storey called me up. He'd been at a Hackathon day at Nissan, organised by Sunderland Software City, and had seen that the challenge was about understanding language on an industrial scale. We pitched together, and with the support of Nissan and SSC, we developed our first product.
How would you describe your business to a novice?
We help people to understand text when there's too much of it to read. We use this power to help people find prospects, understand issues with their products, or use the internet as the world's largest focus group.
Where do you get advice, support or help?
Sunderland Software City have been incredible, offer advice, support, and opportunities at every turn. We have also been extremely lucky to have been supported by two universities, Sunderland and Durham, who have been instrumental in rapidly increasing our AI capabilities. Finally, Daykin and Storey have provided invaluable advice on design and marketing: we're enormously grateful to our sister company.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
We have won numerous awards at hackathons and competitive events, but winning a spot on the Creative Fuse programme (an AHRC-funded progamme bringing together HE and business) within a extremely competitive process, was pretty special. It meant a lot because we were judged not just on our capacity to solve problems or make money, but also on our capacity to do good for the world.
How do you differentiate your business from others?
Many big data companies have names like UltraSci or DataTech, and present themselves as clinical. We are operating at the human end of big data, and so we always try and emphasise that we're real, passionate people. Our clients seemed to have responded to that.
What do you like about being based in the North of England?
Gateshead is a fantastic place to be innovative. A supportive council, a glut of nearby universities, an open and supportive tech community, abusurdly talented individuals. Throw in a fantstic selection of pubs, and you have a brilliant place to do business.
Where do you see your business in 5 years time?
AI is improving every day, and in every meeting with a new prospect, another use of our tech that we never dreamed of comes up. So it's hard to say. But we do know that we want to be a company that the top AI and data scientists aspire to work for, and that represents the North East on the world stage in this space.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs or innovators?
Collaborate. I thought I was fine working away on my own pre-WordNerds. But the team we have developed has moved our initial ideas to places that I could never have imagined. Being honest, at times, this is a little scary: it feels like watching your kids go off to college. But the results have been extraordinary.
What are you looking forward to about the Northern Powerhouse Business Summit?
Seeing an incredible lineup of speakers, learning more about some amazing Northern business, and catching up with some old friends.
The Northern Powerhouse Business Summit is the central event for businesses during Great Exhibition of the North. Supported by the European Regional Development Fund, it is free to attend. Full details can be found at www.getnorth2018.com/business.
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