Posted on Thursday, Oct 25th 2018
News rooms and studios don’t necessarily find out about breaking news through reporters. These days, a lot of them rely on real-time information discovery platforms such as the Billion Dollar Unicorn Dataminr.
New York-based Dataminr was founded in 2009 by Yale roommates Jeff Kinsley and Ted Bailey. Ted had always been interested in the impact of disruptive technologies on American Industry and Government. With Dataminr, he set about to do just that. In his words, Dataminr is “pinoneering groundbreaking technology and making a meaningful impact on the world in real time”. In 2016, CNBC recognized it as among the world’s 50 most disruptive private technology companies.
Dataminr focuses its efforts within the Corporate Security, Finance, Public Sector, News and PR/Communications sectors. It uses machine learning and AI technology to scour public social media feed, especially Twitter, to identify high-impact events and critical breaking information. It identifies news before it starts to trend on social media channels and then transforms these early signals into real-time alerts that are tied with its clients’ top priorities. Its solutions are used to manage workflows for corporate security, help finance teams learn about market-moving events earlier and discover trading signals, alert first responders, deliver breaking news to newsrooms, and relay company-impacting events and stories for brand management. For instance, in 2015, it alerted the New York Fire Department of a fire in New York City even before they received the first 911 call about the incident.
Dataminr specializes in identifying black-swan events before the market reacts. It uses machine learning and cross-references several other data sets ranging from maps to patent data to identify tweets and trends with impact.
Dataminr is privately held so far and does not disclose its financials. Back in 2015, the company was targeting revenues of $100 billion, though the timeframe for that revenue target was not disclosed. It has raised $577 million in funding so far from investors including Vulcan Capital, SharesPost Investment Management, EquityZen, Vikram Pandit, Fidelity Investments, Fabrice Grinda, Thomas Glocer, Wellington Management, IVP (Institutional Venture Partners), Venrock, Goldman Sachs, and Fidelity Investments. Its last round of funding was held in June this year when it raised $392 million in a round that valued it at $1.6 billion. An earlier round held in 2015 had valued the company at nearly $680 million.
Dataminr is not the only player in the industry. There are others like Canada-based Media Sonar that offer similar services. But Dataminr has the advantage of being the only company with full access to all Twitter feed. Last year though, following privacy concerns, Twitter forced Dataminr to sever ties with spy agencies like the CIA and other law enforcement services.
I would like to know about your experience with services like Dataminr? Have you used Dataminr’s information accessed from Twitter to grow your organization?
More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion Dollar Unicorns.
This segment is a part in the series : Billion Dollar Unicorns
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