Bulgarian-born Ingen.io, which uses Big Data analytics to unveil context in unstructured text, has announced that they have been selected as one of 20 startups for the Building Global Innovators accelerator.
The Lisbon-based program divided the startups for their fifth batch into four target verticals of five – Medical Technologies and Health IT, Smart Cities and Industrial Technologies, Enterprise IT and Smart Data, where Igen.io are competing, and Ocean Economy. An intensive acceleration program, which started on July 21st, will culminate in the selection of one startup from each group for up to €500k in investment from Caixa Capital and over €1 million in in-kind support.
“We don’t see [the financial support] as the biggest benefit,” Ingen.io COO Martin Linkov commented, “It will be nice of course, but I think that the recognition and the synergies we can form with MIT Portugal and Boston and from there with potential US clients will far outweigh the monetary prize in the long run.” His company, which passed on an acceleration opportunity in Bulgaria, is currently part of the Wayra CEE accelerator in Prague.
Judges at the fifth BGI accelerator program, sponsored by MIT Portugal, had the challenging task of selecting five startups for each of their four categories, among 130 applications from 31 countries, including China, Nigeria, Turkey and Ukraine.
“[This] was a huge challenge, considering thehigh quality and record number of submissions received, making the job of the jury ever more stringent – the jury had to conduct close to 50 interviews to make sure that BGI was picking the fittest teams” said Prof. José Paulo Esperança, head of the centre for Entrepreneurship at ISCTE-IUL – Audax and one of the judges.
“This year we carried out an audacious realignment of the accelerator (BGI’s) target verticals and were expecting a drop in applications,” BGI Executive Director Gonçalo Amorim commented. “Namely we launched a brand new track dedicated to Ocean economy, an area where we are looking at a ten year horizon impact. We were surprised to see this year’s accelerator candidates consistent with the previous editions.”
Although 47 teams were invited for a video interview with Amorim, Ingen.io’s team was fairly optimistic of their success: “Numbers don’t scare us, after all, we work with Big Data,” Martin Linkov said. “It doesn’t sound humble, but we were expecting to make it. We choose very carefully the competitions we enter and prepare extremely well.”
A winning concept
Ingen.io offers an unorthodox automated approach to analyzing unstructured text, based on World Knowledge Graphs and mimicking the neurological processes of the human brain. Their solution maps out all entities (people, companies, products, etc.) in a text, whether they are explicitly stated or implied, outlining their relationship type and weight of importance within the text.
Normally, this is done through manual analysis and is a key added value in non-automated products offered by companies in media monitoring and analysis, online publishing and contextual advertising. Ingen.io will offer to streamline this process at a freemium model – charging service providers and companies for access to the API and offering free unlimited web access for personal use. They aim to have their first paying customers by September of 2014.
In the meantime, juggling competitions and two accelerators is taking its toll on the team of two. Martin Linkov and his partner, CEO Atanas Youroukov, admit that it would be hard to find the balance between the competition and their product: “Events are nice and useful as they might be, unfortunately, they are still a form of distraction, a disturbance in the rhythm. The hardest part will definitely be focusing on the product development and devoting time to BGI simultaneously.”