I got introduced to Stu Shulman – a Political Science Professor out of UMASS-Amherst through a common friend in DC – as I was making the rounds in DC for our IdeaScale Federal Government business. I got hooked to what he was doing with Text Analytics and the sheer volume of research he has done within the academic community and how he’s going about bringing all that research (funded by your and my tax dollars) to the commercial space. Stu is also the CEO of DiscoverText and is taking the plunge into entrepreneurship. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Information Technology & Politics.
DiscoverText was just launched on November 1st, and I think it has the power to make a dent in the text analytics marketplace. I’ve been in the feedback space for quite some time, and I can tell you from first hand experience, open-ended text analytics and sentiment analysis is not an easy problem to solve. In fact many tools claim to do it, and very few are good at it. More importantly text analytics has to be effective. With the sheer volume of text data on the internet today (tweets, facebook updates, blog comments) – this is a treasure trove of data that is waiting to be mined.
DiscoverText does not do everything for you, but it definitely tries to solve the problem of analyzing large quantities of data (text of course) in one of the most streamlined models so far.
DiscoverText allows you to create “Peer Groups” for looking and coding text responses. These peer-groups can help you code the data as well as help in bucketing the text responses. DiscoverText also has integration with Facebook to import FB feeds directly into their system for analysis. They also have done a great job allowing for importing of data from SharePoint, Facebook, Twitter Feeds, RSS feeds etc. – Make it your social monitoring layer.
DiscoverText has scored a many government clients, including the FCC, USDA and US Fish and Wildlife Service. The goverment agencies use DiscoverText as part of the rule-making process and comment solicitation process. Federal agencies, by statute, must solicit public input on rules and regulations as they are formulated. In order for agencies to effectively “discover” what constituents are talking about, they need tools – and here is where DiscoverText has scored big wins.
DiscoverText also is looking to make some dents in the legal and market research business. Lawyers going through discovery processes still rely on massive amount of text data and sifting through them. Stu and his team believes that their tools can help lawyers find the proverbial needle in the haystack – Lets hope so!
DiscoverText is in a Free Beta for now. They’ve also offered a substantial discount to all Research Access readers! To find out more about DiscoverText and a free license click here.
Full Disclosure: I am an minority seed investor and a board member of DiscoverText