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Interview Co-Founder ReportLinker and Findout, Benjamin Carpano

Benjamin Carpano, the Co-Founder of ReportLinker and Findout interview by Jinfo

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Interview Co-Founder ReportLinker and Findout, Benjamin Carpano

  1. 1. Formerly FreePint © Jinfo Limited 2016- 1 - Q&A with Findout & ReportLinker - using technology to find answers We often think of data analytics as an end user tool to help identify the hidden meanings in data, but the technology and many of the techniques of data analytics are used by content aggregators to identify data that is of interest to researchers and analysts. As part of Jinfo’s Research Focus“Data analytics - ready your information service”, we interviewed Benjamin Carpano, the CEO of sister companies ReportLinker and Findout, which are both part of the French company Ubiquick SAS. ReportLinker is a search engine that provides online access to, what it claims, is one of the largest collections of industry, company and country reports available on the web, from both public and private sources. ReportLinker was the subject of a Jinfo product review in 2013 (click here to read). Findout, which was launched in September 2015, is an enterprise business decision support tool designed to uncover critical information from a wide range of web-based sources. Jinfo conducted a product review of Findout earlier this year (click here to read). Figure 1: Findout Benjamin, who was the co-founder along with Nicolas Bombourg of both ReportLinker in 2001 and subsequently Findout, is now responsible for strategy, product roadmap and the day to day operations of the businesses. Jinfo: What do you consider to be Ubiquick’s core competency - search or data analytics? Benjamin Carpano: It is both, we save our clients both time and effort through the normalisation of data. When we started the business in 2001 it was an aggregator, but we moved on to become a data service business. When we rebuilt the tool in December 2016 By Andrew Lucas View author biography Q&A with Findout & ReportLinker - using technology to find answers
  2. 2. © Jinfo Limited 2016- 2 - Q&A with Findout & ReportLinker version two it became more data orientated. The goal of both products is to improve productivity for the users, who are typically market specialists and analysts. Jinfo: What can you tell me about the technology? Benjamin Carpano: The core technology that drives both ReportLinker and Findout is all about normalising and manipulating data. Our ontology-aware natural language processing (NLP) platform automatically analyses millions of unstructured documents, daily. We use big data algorithms to discover, disambiguate and normalise complex concepts resulting in new structured knowledge of industries, companies and technologies. The platform has four core components: ƒƒ Content Acquisition ƒƒ A Lexical Data Platform ƒƒ Natural Language Processing (NLP) ƒƒ Outputs. For the content acquisition we use web crawlers across open data repositories, public information and third party content. At the heart of the Lexical Data Platform is the proprietary ontology, which contains over 3 million concepts and we are adding to it every day. Pattern recognition is used to identify new terms for the ontology index. For example if we type in“Heineken”that will also find other beer brands, which if it were a new concept would default to a human analyst for addition to the ontology index. The use of data analytics is most apparent in the application of NLP which utilises semantic analysis, text mining, graph processing and machine learning techniques. Whilst the Outputs also include a raft of data analytic techniques, including ontology based classification, named entity extraction and disambiguation, concept discovery, relations extraction and sentiment analysis. Jinfo: What was your motivation for launching Findout and what’s your approach to data acquisition? Benjamin Carpano: Our clients wanted to see the ReportLinker technology extended to other data. To maintain the technology,  Ubiquick invests in first-class engineers, mathematicians and artificial intelligence experts. Of the 50 people in the company, 20 are engineers and there are eight economists to provide a user perspective. For data acquisition we prefer it when the content provider delivers the data via an API. The formats we prefer include“Comma Separated Variables”(CSV), although it can work with data in“Portable Document Format”(PDF). It does not currently make use of “Hypertext Mark-up Language”(HTML) formats but we may consider it in future. Jinfo: Have open data policies had an impact on your business? Benjamin Carpano: For the economic time series data, available in the products, Ubiquick is greatly assisted by the open data policies pursued by some governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), such as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Commission’s EuroStat. We welcome moves for more open data initiatives as it will facilitate the creation of new services. We take copyright very seriously and we have licences with some 600 third party content providers. Neither ReportLinker or Findout offer a data only solution, because most of the value of these offerings is in the backend. But there are APIs available which give users access December 2016
  3. 3. © Jinfo Limited 2016- 3 - Q&A with Findout & ReportLinker to both the functionality and the data. Also, once a client has used either ReportLinker or Findout to identify the data they require it can be downloaded and incorporated into other data analytics applications. Jinfo: You launched Findout as a UK, rather than French, business a little over a year ago. How is it performing? Benjamin Carpano: It is doing really well, we have been showing it at a number of industry events, most recently at the SCIP European Summit in Prague, where we had really good feedback. We have a strong marketing plan for Findout. London is the biggest information market in Europe. It is also a very well developed market. We launched in the UK as we were looking for a first-class sales team. Jinfo: Is the UK’s decision to“Brexit”from the European Union likely to have an impact on the decision to locate Findout in London? Benjamin Carpano: I really do not think so. There is no certainty yet on the timing of Brexit and in any case, the European market will remain and we have clients across Europe and the US. Jinfo: Are you at all concerned about competition from big search companies such as Google? Benjamin Carpano: I don’t think the increasingly sophisticated tools offered by the big search companies like Google are anything to worry about. We are still a niche market play. Google would not find this market of any interest. Jinfo: What do you think lies ahead on the horizon for your company and the data analytics industry? Benjamin Carpano: Looking to the future our goal for the business is to provide more context to users by improving the data discovery platform. By giving more context it helps to keep users on the platform. We will continue to add new features to the products each quarter. As for industry predictions, I think analytics will become more prevalent and what we are doing in finding and normalising data will make analysis easier. Information overload remains a problem for users but it is a great opportunity for us. About Benjamin Carpano In charge of operations and product development, Benjamin co- founded ReportLinker in 2001. He is responsible for strategy, product roadmap and day-to-day operations. Benjamin earned an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation from the Bordeaux Business School. Prior to co-founding ReportLinker, Benjamin held a position of product development manager at, an internet start-up focused on consumer reviews. Prior to this, he was also a consultant in strategic management services at Ernst & Young. December 2016