By @SimonCocking

Describe the company? 

AYLIEN @_aylien is an Artificial Intelligence startup that helps thousands of developers and data scientists extract meaning and insight from unstructured content, such as text and images, at scale. We provide adaptable, intelligent solutions and technology that help businesses transform the way they approach content in their applications and analytics, and unlock its real value.

Our primary focus is on providing easy to use, easy to access APIs to anyone who deals with large volumes of text and images.

We’re based in Dublin, Ireland and we’re 8 men strong. Our team consists of top notch engineers, scientists, salesmen and marketers.

How are you different?

What’s different about us is our ability to consistently stay ahead of the game product-wise. We have very little if any bureaucracy at AYLIEN which means we can push product updates and feature updates out a lot faster than our competitors can. This also means we have the ability to work as closely as possible with our customers to provide the best service possible. We’re fast, flexible and smart.

Why will the company / product do well?

To answer this question, let’s take a step back and look at some major trends:

  1. In the last 24 hours, more content was published on the Internet than any single human can consume in their entire lifetime. Staying on top of this content is no longer a job for humans.

  2. Businesses, large and small, have realized the real value that data and data-driven decisions can provide. Over 60% of top 100k websites on the Internet today have Google Analytics installed.

  3. Only now infrastructure, algorithms and data availability have reached a point where truly intelligent business applications can be built, and all the great work we’ve put into AI for the past five decades is actually starting to flourish and become useful.

From product development to customer acquisition and discovering new use cases, we’re well-aligned with the above shifts in a multi-billion dollar market, and are consistently staying ahead of the curve among our competitors.

Where are you based, how is the broadband? How long will you stay there?

We’re based in Ormond Quay, Dublin 7, just around the corner from Capel Street. The broadband is great but the coffee and food options for lunch around here are even better.

We moved here in August ’14 just under a year ago. We’re not planning on moving anytime soon, but at the rate we’re growing, we may not have a choice.

When was the company launched?

AYLIEN was founded in 2011, when I left my home country Iran to join Chinaccelerator in Dalian, China. The founding team eventually moved to Ireland in 2012 and we’ve been based here since (you have a lovely country, by the way).

Product wise, we launched our Text Analysis API back in February 2014 (yes, it took us a couple pivots to get here!)

What have been your biggest wins to date?

Since launching our API we’ve amassed a really great following of hackers and developers. Over 7,000 developers and data junkies from over 500 cities worldwide, use our products to make sense of massive amounts of content on a daily basis and we’re quite proud of that.

And it’s not just about the quantity. The biggest win is when you see a researcher in Japan is using your tools to do research on cancer. Gets me out of bed in the morning every single time!

I’m also very proud of our team and what we’ve been able to achieve together. We’ve gone through some difficult times, but that didn’t stop any of us including our investors to stop believing in the vision.

We’ve also built really good ties with the academia, from publishing papers to offering our tools for free to researchers and students. It feels good to be close to the state of the art and the latest research.

What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?

We’re a B2B company and our primary focus is on News and Media and Ad-tech companies at the moment, as they often deal with tons of unstructured content, and so we currently work with companies doing one or more of the following:

  1. Business Intelligence: to monitor, analyze and visualize large amounts of content from your/your competitors’ network and discover patterns and trends.

  2. Voice of the Customer Analytics: to find out what people think of your/your competitors’ brand or product by analyzing social posts, comments, reviews, articles, etc.

  3. Contextual Relevance (in the ad-tech space): brands want to put their ads where they get most clicks/impressions. In order to do that, you need to understand the host page well in terms of topics, sentiment, etc.

  4. Influencer Analysis: to identify and profile influencers for a given topic in any industry.

We work with developers and data scientists as well as C-levels and VPs at these companies to ensure our solutions are implemented optimally to add maximum value.

Tell us about your team?

We’re a mix of engineers, scientists, salesmen and marketers, and we’ve built a really great team over the last 12 months or so, we’ve grown from 3 to 8 full time employees in the office. Myself the CEO, Amir and Hamed were the original 3, mostly technical geeks who originally built the product.

We then added our COO Kevin and Mike who looks after Sales and Marketing last August, they work mainly on the business side of things and more recently we’ve added to the tech team with Jordi, an NLP scientist who came from Spain and our resident PhD researcher, Peiman from Iran also working on NLP. Finally, Afshin our newest team member also from Iran develops slick dashboards and visualizations for the end-user. We’ve a pretty international team with 5 Iranians, 1 Spaniard, 1 Irish guy and an Irish/English guy on board.

What are your long term plans for your product / company?

We believe that AI is at the brink of massive growth in the depth and extent of its usage and development, and we want to be at the front and center of that, obviously within our area of specialty which is NLP. I personally believe that from a commercial standpoint, AI and Machine Learning are where Operating Systems were back in the 70’s: software with proven business value, cheap and enabling hardware infrastructure, but no great understanding of a platform or the building blocks, and their exact use cases.

We have these things in our scope but we don’t have a formal long-term plan, we like to move fast. If something, be it product updates, hiring, partnerships, etc. makes sense and is in line with the big picture, we’ll do it.

In the short term we’re focused on adding novel features to our products that add real value to our customers’ businesses, and we’re partnering with smart, skilled and experienced people to do so.

What are your favourite tech gadgets?

I’m a big fan of any technology that enables humans to extend their capabilities as a species. Self-driving cars, reusable rockets, AI servants – you name it.

You see, our physical bodies (sans the brain) are only marginally better than some apes, but our minds are orders of magnitude ahead and this creates a massive gap between our minds and bodies. I’m a big fan of anything and everything that helps close this gap.

What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?

Something that acts as a second memory without interfering with my privacy: keep track of everything I see, hear, read and write and analyze and organize it for me.

A few technologies come close to that today (Google Now, Apple Watch, etc.) but privacy still remains a big issue.

How did WebSummit help you, and what you’re looking forward to from the upcoming Dublin one.

The Web Summit and its sister conferences are a fantastic opportunity to meet new people, and the businesses that are built around them. Last year I got a chance to attend for the first time and on the second day I got to meet Shervin Pishevar of Sherpa Ventures and Robert Scoble face to face (almost met Peter Thiel as well) which was a great experience as an aspiring entrepreneur. There’s a lot of idolization in the startup world, and Web Summit reassured me that we’re all just human beings.

Earlier this year we attended EnterConf which was a good opportunity to meet potential Enterprise customers and investors. We’ll be exhibiting at this year’s Web Summit too, and hope to see you all in there.

For anyone interested, we did an analysis of tweets about the issues with the WiFi at last year’s Web Summit. You can find the results here.

For more information you contact us below:

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or @SimonCocking

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