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snyderKieran Snyder, a linguistics expert who previously worked at Amazon and Microsoft’s Bing unit, and Jensen Harris, who spent 16 years at Microsoft, including stints running the user experience team for Windows 8, have a formed a new data visualization startup by the name of Textio.

The Seattle company’s tagline: “Turn business text into insights.” The emergence of the startup was first reported by Re/code, which noted that the Textio tool could be used by companies to scour job descriptions, performance reviews and other corporate HR documents to uncover unintended discrimination.

In fact, Textio was formed after Snyder conducted research on gender bias in performance reviews in the tech industry.

The company filed incorporation documents with the State of Washington on Oct. 2, listing Snyder and Harris as officers.

textio11According to the company’s Web site, Snyder — who earned a doctorate in linguistics and cognitive science from the University of Pennsylvania — is serving as CEO while Jensen is CTO.

Snyder writes in a blog post:

“Textio was born of this need that companies have to turn their most essential business documents into actionable insights. And it isn’t just performance reviews. Text is essential to how most businesses operate: product specifications, marketing materials, presentations, emails, help documentation, and more.

Textio takes this mountain of unstructured text and turns it into the data you need to improve your business. By analyzing the text properties of documents at scale, we can help companies understand where their text is helping them achieve their business goals and where it’s getting in their way.”

Textio said it is trying to answer additional business questions, using “text analytics” to dig into topics such as whether customer support conversations are delivering results or whether marketing copy is resulting in new customers. A product release is targeted for next Spring.

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