Sunday, January 27, 2008

Significant announcement from FirstRain today

Today is a big day for FirstRain. We've been working hard on a new product for the last year and today's the day we're announcing it to the world.

The product is called FirstRain Management Monitor and it's based on a breakout technology qualitative analytics which opens up a new market segment at the intersection of unstructured search and analytics. Management Monitor is designed to bring unique insights into management quality and performance, and an unprecedented level of management transparency, by applying pattern detection to the web.

Think of the web as a vast, unruly database of millions of results to be mined for patterns which a human can't find (because there are too many data points) but which a piece of software can. We can now find unique data and business trends for our customers because we i) search the web, ii) categorize the web results by complex business topics, iii) extract facts and events from the results, iv) store the data points in our knowledgebase and then v) mine these facts for patterns. And we’re providing this new package to all of our current customers because I feel passionately that we can keep our customers ahead of their competition by continuously enriching their research capability.

The FirstRain Management Monitor analytics package, features our

- On the Record report (quotes by or about a company)
This is an example of FirstRain finding a specific claim, as well as the name of a third-party expert I can ping about my thesis.

- No Comment report (instances and topics companies decline to comment on)
Here FirstRain puts into sharp relief AMR’s lack of a stated position on industry consolidation, which begs the question “What conditions would cause American not to state a position and strategy when their competitors are?”

- Management Turnover report (hires, departures and re-orgs, announced or not)

Here’s a recent Motorola example,

and Yahoo example

I posted on last week that shows how starkly trends and anomalies stand out with qualitative analytics.

So now a CFO can see the same web results his investors do so he doesn't get surprised and a hedge fund manager can likewise not miss out when someone speaks outside of the party line. A CEO can see his competitors weaken in a division as key people leave and a long only money manager can build an ongoing database of quality management and where they're going. We have one customer, an aggressive hedge fund manager, who's primary thesis is discovering the track record of management and then investing in the good ones as they move around.

We’ve been in beta since November and doing demos to analysts since the beginning of the year, and to finally announce it to the world is very exciting! Our customers have been very positive about the beta testing we’ve done so far – this technology investment is key to our strategy both for investment professionals and for corporate executives.

This is just the beginning of the qualitative analytics journey and we know that only our imagination and the vastness of the web is the limit.


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