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Q&A: Dataminr’s Ted Bailey on Hotspots Among The Hashtags

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Specialising in creating “actionable insights” for financial traders from the deafening noise that is Twitter, Dataminr recently made its own news by raising $13 million in Series B funding (for a total to date of $16 million).  We spoke to Dataminr founder and CEO Ted Bailey to find out more about the company and its big data challenge with the Twitter firehose.

Q: How did Dataminr get started, and what is its focus?

A: I started the firm with two former roommates from Yale University – Jeff Kinsey and Sam Hendel – with combined experience in social media analytics,big data, and finance. The company is focused on extracting value from social media for clients in finance and government.

Q: Can you characterise the Twitter Firehose from a big data perspective?

A: There are currently 400 million Tweets per day flowing through Twitter. Our event detection software reduces Twitter to specific anomalous patterns in the data – or “hotspots” – emerging in real-time and then correlates those patterns to topics in our knowledge base to determine relevancy for the financial industry. 

Q: What are you actually providing to financial trading firms?

A: Across the financial sector, there is a growing awareness of the value in Twitter and the real-time internet.  However, there has not yet been a tool for financial professionals to access that value.  Dataminr solves that problem by identifying hotspots of activity across Twitter as trends first emerge and delivering alerts when these trends match a user’s watchlist of portfolio companies, macro topics of interest, or custom ideas he/she has created in the system.  The interface and a data flow is designed to sync directly into a financial professional’s workflow.

Q: What does it mean to be certified Twitter analytics partner?  Will you be extending your offering in the future to other social media sources?

A: Our conversations with Twitter have all focused on them wanting to help businesses.  The goal of this program is to make it easier for businesses to find great products and to guide developers to valuable opportunities.  Twitter is working with partners that offer innovative solutions to problems that businesses and large organisations face on Twitter.  Dataminr was selected because Twitter believes we are solving a real need in the market and they’ve heard from our customers that we’re having a big impact.

Depending on our users’ needs, we may look to incorporate other public social media datasets in the future.

Q: A number of companies are now in the Social Media Analytics space.  What’s different about Dataminr?

A: Dataminr’s primary focus is real-time analytics and delivering relevant real-time signals.

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