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Black Swan Data scores £6.2M to help companies make better use of consumer and public data

TechCrunch TechCrunch 7/07/2016 Steve O'Hear

Data science and tech startup Black Swan Data, which has built a platform to let companies improve their business/marketing intelligence by mining and crunching both public and internal consumer data, has closed £6.2 million in Series B funding.

The round sees Albion Ventures back the company, along with investors Blackstone and Mitsui. I’m told the new capital will be used to further accelerate Black Swan’s international growth and expansion of its product platform, ‘The Nest’.

Founded in 2011 by Steve King and Hugo Amos, Black Swan describes its proposition as applying big data and predictive data science techniques to consumer marketing. It works with large consumer-focused brands such as PepsiCo, Vodafone, Samsung, Disney and Panasonic, to enable them to combine the data they already hold on customers with public data, through various online data, to help give them a further marketing advantage and make more informed business decisions.

So, for example, a pharma company might use the platform to predict the spread of flu, to make sure marketing campaigns for vitamins would be targeting those in the predicted pathway. Or Black Swan could be employed to look at things like weather data, and social data to help a grocery sore predict when the first big BBQ weekend of the summer might be to ensure the right amount of stock is ordered and related marketing campaigns are run.

“We create algorithms that help brands better predict consumer behaviour, to change the way marketing is done,” explains King. “We do this by harnessing data from the world’s biggest focus group; listening to the internet at scale and combine it with our clients’ own data sets to pinpoint and understand patterns and trends”.

Another of the startup’s software, DragonFly, claims to analyse visuals in the same way as the human brain does, helping map out in real time, exactly what’s likely to grab people’s attention. “The app does in real-time what would take weeks of focus group sessions to achieve,” adds King.

However, the Black Swan CEO also says it’s not just about helping brands. Other customers include A&E departments, airlines, and roadside assistance companies.

“We keep ourselves fairly diverse, building internet enabled software portals for airlines, customer engagement apps for utility companies; and using data science to predict events and behaviours for global B2C brands. We can help our clients forecast operational load along with demand and supply requirements,” he says.

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