Oct
03
2019
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T4 wants to transform market research data with a combination of AI and humans

When T4 co-founder and CEO Maks Khurgin was working at Bain and Company, he ran into a common problem for analysts looking for market data. He spent way too much time searching for it and felt there had to be a better way. He decided to build a centralized market data platform himself, and T4 was born. This week the company competes in the TechCrunch Disrupt SF Startup Battlefield.

What he created with the help of his long-time friend and CTO, Yev Spektor, was built on a couple of key components. The first is an industry classification system, a taxonomy, that organizes markets by industries and sub-industries. Using search and aggregation tools powered by artificial intelligence, it scours the web looking for information sources that match their taxonomy labels.

As they researched the tool, the founders realized that the AI could only get them so far. There were always pieces that it missed. So they built a second part to provide a way for human indexers to fill in those missing parts to offer as comprehensive a list of sources as possible.

“AI alone cannot solve this problem. If we bring people into this and avoid the last mile delivery problem, then you can actually start organizing this information in a much better way than anyone else had ever done,” Khurgin explained.

It seems simple enough, but it’s a problem that well-heeled companies like Bain have been trying to solve for years, and there was a lot of skepticism when Khurgin told his superiors he was leaving to build a product to solve this problem. “I had a partner at Bain and Company actually tell me, “You know, every consulting firm has tried to do something like this — and they failed. Why do you think you can do this?””

He knew that figuring out the nature of the problem and why the other attempts had failed was the key to solving the puzzle. He decided to take the challenge, and on his 30th birthday, he quit his job at Bain and started T4 the next day — without a product yet, mind you.

This was not the first time he had left a high-paying job to try something unconventional. “Last time I left a high paying job, actually after undergrad, I was a commodities derivatives trader for a financial [services company]. I left that to pursue a lifelong dream of being in the Marine Corps,” Khurgin said.

T4 DSC00953

T4 was probably a less risky proposition, but it still took a leap of faith that only a startup founder can understand, who believes in his idea. “I felt the problem first-hand, and the the big kind of realization that I had was that there is actually a finite amount of information out there. Market research is created by humans, and you don’t necessarily have to take a pure AI approach,” he said.

The product searches for all of the related information on a topic, finds all of the data related to a category and places it in an index. Users can search by topic and find all of the free and paid reports related to that search. The product shows which reports are free and which will cost you money, and like Google, you get a title and a brief summary.

The company is just getting started with five main market categories so far, including cloud computing, cybersecurity, networking, data centers and eSports. The founders plan to add additional categories over time, and have a bold goal for the future.

“Our long-term vision is that we become your one-stop shop to find market research in the same way that if you need to buy something, you go to Amazon, or you need financial data, you go on Bloomberg or Thomson. If you need market research, our vision is that T4 is the place that you go,” Khurgin said.


Aug
05
2019
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Segment CEO Peter Reinhardt is coming to TechCrunch Sessions: Enterprise to discuss customer experience management

There are few topics as hot right now in the enterprise as customer experience management, that ability to collect detailed data about your customers, then deliver customized experiences based on what you have learned about them. To help understand the challenges companies face building this kind of experience, we are bringing Segment CEO Peter Reinhardt to TechCrunch Sessions: Enterprise on September 5 in San Francisco (p.s. early-bird sales end this Friday, August 9).

At the root of customer experience management is data — tons and tons of data. It may come from the customer journey through a website or app, basic information you know about the customer or the customer’s transaction history. It’s hundreds of signals and collecting that data in order to build the experience where Reinhardt’s company comes in.

Segment wants to provide the infrastructure to collect and understand all of that data. Once you have that in place, you can build data models and then develop applications that make use of the data to drive a better experience.

Reinhardt, and a panel that includes Qualtrics’ Julie Larson-Green and Adobe’s Amit Ahuja, will discuss with TechCrunch editors the difficulties companies face collecting all of that data to build a picture of the customer, then using it to deliver more meaningful experiences for them. See the full agenda here.

Segment was born in the proverbial dorm room at MIT when Reinhardt and his co-founders were students there. They have raised more than $280 million since inception. Customers include Atlassian, Bonobos, Instacart, Levis and Intuit .

Early-bird tickets to see Peter and our lineup of enterprise influencers at TC Sessions: Enterprise are on sale for just $249 when you book here; but hurry, prices go up by $100 after this Friday!

Are you an early-stage startup in the enterprise-tech space? Book a demo table for $2,000 and get in front of TechCrunch editors and future customers/investors. Each demo table comes with four tickets to enjoy the show.

Jul
16
2019
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Qualtrics’ Julie Larson-Green will talk experience management at TC Sessions: Enterprise

We’re less than two months out from our first TC Sessions: Enterprise event, which is happening in San Francisco on September 5, and did you know our buy-one-get-one-free sale ends today too! Among the many enterprise and startup executives that’ll join us for the event is Qualtrics’ Julie Larson-Green. If that name sounds familiar to you, it’s most likely because you remember her from her 25 years at Microsoft. After a successful career in Redmond, Larson-Green left Microsoft in 2017 to become the chief experience officer at SAP’s Qualtrics .

In that role, she’s perfect for our panel about — you guessed it — experience management.

Larson-Green joined Microsoft as a program manager for Visual C++ back in 1993. After moving up the ladder inside the company, she oversaw the launch of Windows 7 and became the co-lead of Microsoft’s hardware, games, music and entertainment division in 2013. At the time, she was seen as a potential replacement for then-CEO Steve Ballmer .

Later, during a period of reshuffling at the company in the wake of the Nokia acquisition, she became the chief experience officer of Microsoft’s My Life and Work group.

Larson-Green joined Qualtrics before it was acquired by SAP for $8 billion in cash. Qualtrics offers a number of products that range from customer experience tools to brand tracking and ad testing services, as well as employee research products for gathering feedback about managers, for example. At the core of its product is an analytics engine that helps businesses make sense of their employee and customer data, which in turn should help them optimize their customer experience scores and reduce employee attrition rates.


Our buy-one-get-one-free ticket deal ends today! Book a ticket for just $249 and you can bring a buddy for free. Book here before this deal ends.

We’re still selling startup demo tables, and each package comes with four tickets. Learn more here.


Apr
12
2017
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Qualtrics waits on that IPO, raises $180 million at a $2.5 billion valuation instead

 That Qualtrics IPO many have been expecting is on hold for now. The online market research platform has just raised its third round for $180 million at a whopping $2.5 billion valuation. The Provo, Utah-based company came from much humbler beginnings, bootstrapping the operation for a decade before finally taking financing from Sequoia and Accel in 2012. It has blown up since then,… Read More

Apr
10
2017
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Is Qualtrics about to go public? A chat with founder Ryan Smith on the IPO question

 Qualtrics, an online survey research platform, is listed as tops among likely candidates to go public this year. But is it really going to file and, if so, how close is it to doing that? I’m betting yes and very soon based on some interesting answers in a recent interview with founder Ryan Smith. Read More

Apr
10
2017
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Lucid raises $60M as it plans to dominate market research

Lucid Lucid is announcing that it has raised a $60 million round led by North Bridge Growth Equity. It’s the company’s first outside funding since raising a relatively tiny $2.8 million back in 2011. Founder and CEO Patrick Comer said that in the years between, he deliberately wanted Lucid to “run really, really lean and pour every dollar into growth of product.” Now,… Read More

Apr
20
2016
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Qualtrics adds former Google and Apple exec Kim Scott to the board to help pull in top Silicon Valley talent

Kim Scott Billion-dollar customer insight startup Qualtrics hopes to recruit top Silicon Valley talent to its home base in Utah as it continues to grow and part of that strategy involves adding professional tech coach Kim Scott to the board of directors. Qualtrics became one of a handful of new unicorns in the Beehive State last year and it continues to climb up and to the right. But it’s hard… Read More

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