Tweets. Blog comments. Facebook likes. There’s no shortage of information flowing these days. CrowdControl wants to help businesses qualify this data, figuring how people associate themselves with various brands and products.
Utilizing services like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, the nine-month-old Seattle startup’s artificial intelligence software allows businesses to manage projects and obtain quality results from crowdsourcing platforms.
C0-founder and CEO Max Yankelevich provided more details in the latest installment of Startup Spotlight.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “CrowdControl is changing the labor and data markets by giving businesses access to low-cost and scalable workforces on-demand – and controlling the quality of work they do. For those familiar with crowdsourcing, CrowdControl is a quality control and manageability application to be used in partnership with platforms like Amazon Mechanical Turk.”
Inspiration hits us: “Every day. We’re out in the trenches talking with people and businesses that rely on data – asking them how our solution can impact the work they are doing. Our formula of artificial intelligence and crowdsourced talent is changing the speed and precision of analyzing and customizing big data sets, changing the status quo for political campaigns, marketing, retail and every other industry built around information.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “The company was bootstrapped for the first eight months of operations in order to see if we can stand on our own two feet as far as revenue and profitability. I’m a big believer in building “real” businesses that generate cash almost immediately. I guess that’s why I always favored B2B space over B2C.
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Secret. It is an artificial intelligence application.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Combining the MIT research we were doing on Artificial Intelligence with our research on crowdsourcing…. The marriage of these two technologies has proven to be crucial as the core foundation of our product and ultimately successful customer implementations. I think another smart move was to work jointly with Amazon Mechanical Turk to test the platform before releasing it to the public.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “The business is still very young , so I’m sure the biggest mistakes are still to come.”
Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Jeff Bezos, of course.”
Our world domination strategy starts when: “Companies realize they don’t have to make huge investments in sophisticated technology or people to collect and analyze data. Once the world understands how accessible big data can be, it will impact everything – political campaigns, retail operations, marketing… Dare to imagine because the list goes on.”
Rivals should fear us because: “We are disrupting the labor and data markets (though we actually compliment most big data and crowdsourced projects – giving project managers better quality control and manageability).”
We are truly unique because: “Technology-based applications like Natural Language Processing have serious limitations – they can’t detect sarcasm for example. We blend artificial intelligence with scalable human judgment for better project precision – and at a fraction of the cost of other solutions.”
The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “A pre-existing negative view of crowdsourcing for producing datasets. Most of our customers really didn’t believe that a high quality level can be achieved by using large pools of intermittent workers. We offer a free proof of concept to overcome this objection.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “When thinking about bringing a new product to a market always make sure that you’re solving a major friction point from your future customers’ perspective. Then iterate, iterate, iterate.”