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Our Top 6 UK Start-up Big Data Companies

Many organisations struggle to set up internal big data projects. Luckily there's plenty of innovative start-ups ready and willing to help. Mark Young runs through six of Britain's finest.

Mark Young is on Twitter: @Mark_J_Young

Many organisations struggle to set up internal big data projects. Some don’t have the skills, some can’t find the time, and some simply don’t know where to start. Luckily there are many talented companies out there that have sprung up to provide end-user friendly big data tools or services. And they aren’t just the reserve of Silicon Valley – the UK has become a hotbed for exciting new big data start-ups.

Here are some of the coolest big data companies founded right here in good ol’ Blighty (in no particular order and certainly not an exhaustive list, one should add).

1.       EDITD

London-based fashion analyst EDITD was formed in 2009 to answer its founders’ frustration at the lack of provable data in fashion. Supplying to brands and retailers, the company performs real-time data analysis from web-based content in order to map market intelligence and perform competitive benchmarking, taking in pricing, styling, stock levels and consumer sentiment.

The company’s platform is highly customisable, allowing customers to choose specific products, companies, market segments or trends to track, with highly stylised visual dashboards emailed directly to the client’s inbox at intermittent periods of their choosing. Other features include a holistic catwalk monitoring system which is fully tracked and analysed, and a visual merchandising insights tool, which tracks a huge range of customer –facing websites, shop fronts and marketing materials, allowing customers to keep up with their peers’ activities and benchmark themselves accordingly.

Live demos are available.

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2.       Push Technology

At a grand old age of six – mature, in big data terms – Push Technology provides a service called Diffusion which allows its customers to transfer data between the cloud, web browsers, desktops and mobile devices, quickly and efficiently, with no additional hardware costs.

Essentially, it takes the pain away from building low latency communications messaging into applications by performing the task as a bolt-on service. The benefits the company cites are the efficient streaming of volatile data, conserving of bandwidth, increasing application performance and delivering near-zero latency. Applications can ‘subscribe’ to other sources of data (be that simple text and numbers, or rich media like music and video files) from other applications and live data stores, which allows them to automatically and almost instantly receive updates as they occur. This ‘push’ system means the applications do not need to actively seek and ‘pull’ the data themselves.

The system also intelligently analyses the devices its ends data to, regulating the speed where it needs to in order that poorly performing devices are not overloaded.

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3.       DataSift

DataSift is one of only two global companies to be officially licensed by Twitter to resyndicate Tweets. Not bad for a start-up from Reading, huh? In truth, Datasift is no plucky minnow, despite only two years having passed since the launch of its alpha service back in 2010.

Now dual-based in San Francisco, US in order to provide 24 hour service and presumably to position it amongst the West Coast tech giants, Datasift allows customers to filter and gain trends insight from unstructured social media feeds. That includes a holistic range of social media platforms, including Facebook, Wikipedia, Amazon, and YouTube. Essentially, you can get a picture of the sentiment on any given subject, whether that’s your brand, somebody else’s, an ongoing event, political persuasions – anything.

Prices start at $3,000 dollars per month, for which you can perform keyword filters on 25,000 social media updates. As the price brackets move up, to a final platinum package of $15,000 per month, you get additional capacity to analyse 10 times more live as well as historical updates, and filter by location-based information, text pattern-matching and natural language processing.

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4.       QuBit

Website optimisation company QuBit, based in Soho, was founded in 2010 by four ‘ex-Googlers’ and now boasts a team of over 50. The outfit enables retailers to increase their customer conversion sale rates by performing multivariate tests on the website features and functions. This could be anything from the amount of text on a page, the positioning of purchase links, the colours of the call-to-action boxes or a whole world of other user experience components.

The company’s customers include TalkTalk, Staples, BBC, Office, BlackBerry and, from whom Nilan Peiris is one of the most popular regular speakers at Big Data Insight Group Forums.

A recent case study revealed that lingerie retailer Bravissimmo was able to increase its conversions by 13 per cent using QuBit, an improvement that will equate to a £2.3m uplift in annual sales.

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5.       Adconion Direct UK

Adconion Direct is an award winning multi-channel digital distribution platform. We may be stretching things slightly here - since the company is owned by the US-headquartered Adconion Media Group, but it has been named among the Sunday Times’ fastest growing technology companies in the UK so therefore it counts in our eyes.

Working for both advertisers and publishers, the company has built a ‘digital distribution platform’ which uses big data to more precisely target the right audience at the right time. Its niche is that it works across all advertising channels, including display, social media, email and mobile apps across multiple devices. This means specific people can automatically be shown the right marketing messages, on the most relevant websites and media channels, on the most effective medium for them.

Says the company: “This unified data and technology platform deconstructs big data, dissects channels, discovers trends and distributes advertising. With a dedicated data team alongside cutting edge technology Adconion Direct provides the insights, optimisation, data and targeting required to successfully execute and scale performance campaigns.” So there.

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6.       Tumra

Tumra – which in ancient Sanskrit means ‘big’ – was founded in March this year by two former employees of BSkyB, where they were responsible for introducing Hadoop into the organisation.  

The company is developing a dual focus – one as a provider of propriety big data analysis tools built on its own real-time data processing platform, allowing machine learning or event filtering. The other side of the business is a consultancy to help organisations embed open source big data technologies into their own applications.

Last month, the company opened Tumra Labs – an online demo unit which can be used to trial the company’s tools. At the moment the Labs features just the company’s Probabilistic Demographics API, which makes aspersions about a person simply from their name. At the moment gender and age range is generated but the company soon hopes to add location and economic background. This information can be used to personalise marketing campaigns or website options.  The accuracy of the results is currently at 96.8 per cent and the company says this will improve the more the application is used.

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Anyone not on this list that should be? Email