Web Summit is here – and we have a new API

It has been a long time! And what a better way to get back on track with our blog than to announce a new release AND our presence at one of the biggest tech event in the world?

Web Summit is here. The second edition in Portugal takes place this November 6th-9th in the sunny Lisbon. We must admit that we are biased, though, as I am Portuguese and part of our team is based in Lisbon. Anyway, this is a huge event for the city and for the start-up scene, which rose so quickly in Portugal.

Since this is a big moment, we decided to celebrate with a big release. We are launching the version 1.0 of our public API on November 8th at Web Summit, where we were selected to have a booth at the Beta program! This new product will make data scientists’ lives easier, as it will allow to integrate DefinedCrowd platform on their own machine learning infrastructure. In other words, you will have access to high-quality data right in your own platform by simply calling an API. Practical, isn’t it?

If you are in Lisbon for Web Summit, make sure you stop by the Stand B 412 on November 8th, at the Big Data Exhibition Area. We will be there to show you all you can do with this new product.

But this isn’t all!

In addition to these news, I am proud to announce that DefinedCrowd was selected to pitch at Web Summit, where I will present our company to an audience filled with top tech speakers, attendees, and juries. This is an amazing opportunity and we are really excited (and a bit nervous!).

Summing up the essential news:

  • public API access for DefinedCrowd’s data platform will be available on November 8th;
  • DefinedCrowd will be at Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. More specifically, on November 8th, on the Stand B 412 at the Big Data Exhibition Area;
  • I will be pitching DefinedCrowd on Tuesday, 7th November on Pitch Stage 2 at 2pm.

We are looking forward to seeing you at Web Summit. Stop by our booth, drop us a message on our social media channels or email us at sales@definedcrowd.com, we want to hear from you!

06 Web Summit FB

Announcing the Alpha Release of Enterprise SaaS

Our Alpha marks the first phase towards introducing a self-service model to help data scientists everywhere have high quality data at their fingertips.   

Every company is finding itself thrust into a new era where data-driven decision-making and automation are key to scaled growth. While recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) powering everything from chatbots to personal assistants have helped consumers and enterprises realize the promise of what the technology might bring, we feel there’s plenty of room to improve.

At DefinedCrowd, we believe the key to improving the interaction between humans and machines is access to better data. Too many companies building AI and machine learning (ML) applications are hampered by poor quality data, resulting in inconsistent interactions, slow time to market and lack of language coverages. This results in a halt of innovation that creates poor user experiences.

Today’s announcement of our Alpha release of the Enterprise SaaS platform gets us one step closer to realizing the vision we’ve had since day one of starting DefinedCrowd: Helping all companies reduce cost and time to ship high quality machines through access to intelligent data.

In the alpha release of the Data-Science-as-a-Service platform, we focused our efforts in building intuitive and easy-to-use workflow templates based on our core domain expertise. Speech and Natural Language Processing (NLP). As the only data platform designed for data scientists by data scientist, the platform uses the power of ML and humans-in-the-loop (or crowd) to help enterprise data teams to collect, augment and structure high quality training data for AI and ML applications.

From the alpha release, we have two specific goals in mind:

  1. Expand the ways we help AI and ML application builders gain access to high quality data through a self-service model (while continuing the more hand-on approach we offer today)
  2. Invite a group of enterprises to bang away and give us feedback to improve/inform our Beta release

One of the big goals of DefinedCrowd is to help make machines smarter in a way that always puts humans at the center of the AI experience. The ability to naturally and effortlessly communicate with machines is paramount to realizing a truly human-centric interaction model. What we announced today is only a start to this exciting journey. Over the next several months, we’ll be shipping new sets of workflows to methodically chip away at the data problem. And if we do our job right, it should free up the AI builders to do what they do best – ship machines that understand us, naturally.

You can apply for a trial access here today!

 

DefinedCrowd at APDC 26º DIGITAL BUSINESS CONGRESS

It was an honor for me, and I think I can speak for all present team, to participate in the 26th Digital Business Congress at CCB in Lisbon. Besides the exhibition opportunity of our product, I found the event a very interesting platform for discussion, reflection and mobilization issues and decisive initiatives of ICT and Media in general.

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In addition to the large Portuguese companies represented, such as RTP, ANACOM, PT, VODAFONE, NOS, CTT and others, I found very interesting the will and interest shown by APDC in “give voice” to emerging startups. Speaking about the future and the current landscape of ICT and Media in Portugal, namely in Lisbon, without reference to all the efforts and strategies of these new companies is really a challenge and APDC realized it in time by including a number of initiatives throughout the congress. These initiatives included panels on “Digital Transformation of Business” where startup companies make a structural difference, an exhibition space that was attended by more than 10 startups, as well as the competition “Startup Powered by APDC” (which DefinedCrowd WON! I will talk about it in more detail further down).

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These days, Lisbon is the hub to a new way of thinking and doing business and it can count on this entrepreneurial spirit combined with a growing national investment. Throughout the sessions, new paradigms around the Portuguese technological landscape were discussed, from national investment to the daily challenges, from large companies as well as startups betting on technological development made in Portugal, not to mention the discussion around the Websummit in Lisbon in November this year. Future projections about the top well paid jobs in the next 10 years were made. Topics such as Data Analysis, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and User Experience were certainly on the agenda, which reinforces and re-validates our position in the future of ICT.

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We were honored with the presence of the President of Portugal in this event and Joao Freitas, DefinedCrowd’ CTO, had the opportunity to present in detail our product and our company the same.

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And since I speak of media attention, I am proud to explain in more detail the contest “Startup Powered by APDC” that  we ended up winning. There were 49 startups in the race, 12 of which were invited to attend the congress in CCB. The next challenge was on stage, where a three minutes pitch with Q&A would have to be delivered to a jury of relevant ICT guests. It was with great honor that DefinedCrowd received the award for “Startup Powered by APDC,” and we had the opportunity to once again pitch our product to the big CCB auditorium inserted in the panel “State of the Nation Communications” for more than 1500 attendees. It was a fantastic opportunity, and despite the initial stress, the pitch went very well and we had a fantastic feedback.

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It was indeed a very rewarding and enriching event for the whole team, where in addition to great media exposure, we had the opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss issues with large companies as well as all the other startups who accompany us on this journey.

 

DefinedCrowd closes $1.1M seed investment

As the CEO and founder of DefinedCrowd, I couldn’t be happier with this achievement. We closed our seed round exactly one year after Amy Du and I started this company, in August 2015. It has been an incredible rollercoaster since then, with major highlights such as getting our first customers, opening the Portuguese subsidiary in Startup Lisboa, being accepted into the Microsoft Seattle Accelerator, where we learned so much (thanks to Hanan Levy, Prashant Sharma, Aya Zook and Tim Enger) and meeting our incredible investors, who believe in us and who share our ambitious vision of being the number one data science platform for artificial intelligence worldwide. I’m immensely proud to be working with Amazon and Sony now; these strategic partnerships can help us fine tune our product vision. Being Portuguese myself and knowing the quality and stability of the talent in Portugal, setting up an R&D center in Lisbon was a no-brainer for me. I was pleased to convince Joao Freitas, our CTO and one of the best tech professionals in Portugal, to join DefinedCrowd and to run the operation in Lisbon. In this round, we will continue the investment in Portugal. Looking for Portuguese investment in this context was natural and strategic for us, and we’re thrilled to have Portugal Ventures, the most prestigious VC in Portugal, backing us in this round, as well as BusyAngels, who brings us valuable business experience and insights to the European market. Last but not the least, I am very happy to have SWAN, a Seattle Angel group, as part of our group of investors in this round. SWAN brings diverse business experience and continuous mentorship.

This seed round is a historical milestone for our company and the round of funding allows us to boost our SaaS platform development. We’re growing our team in Lisbon from 5 to 12 people in the next 3 months and looking for a bigger office in Seattle as well.

I would also like to thank all our customers that have believed in us and allowed us to prove our product. At DefinedCrowd, our customers come first. We are here to continue serving them and all new coming customers. And we are already global, with signed customers in the US, Europe and Asia.

We have very ambitious goals for the next milestone and we’re all focused on them. Exciting times are ahead of us!

Lisbon team

DefinedCrowd in CSW London 2016

DefinedCrowd presented at Crowdsourcing Week Global in London, last April 14th, 2016, on the session about Crowdsourcing and Crowd Innovation. Our Director of Engineering, Joao Freitas, represented DefinedCrowd on stage, among a super high profile set of other speakers. Great job, Joao! The video can be seen here and the slides for our presentation can be found here. Great event, thanks to Epi Ludvik Nekaj, always a great host and organizer.

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Rethinking UX: The customer in the center of the product experience

Last week, MS Ventures brought us a company to help us rethinking our UX experience. The company who came to give us the workshop is called Frog Design and they absolutely blew us away. Because startups have to move so fast, user experience is often neglected. This is not the case at DefinedCrowd. Since we started this company, we know that a premium and delightful experience for the customer and for our crowd members is key to the success of our business. And this is why our UX Designer, Sara Oliveira, was the first employee we brought on board. We’re extremely demanding when it comes to the design and the interaction our customers have. We’ll soon be adding gamification features in our crowd UI to make their experience easy and even more engaging.

A couple of things I liked about the workshop: #1 Laptops were not allowed. We spent all day working with pen and paper and brainstorming inside and outside our company. #2 They made us understand the archetype or persona of our customers and what motivates them. This was actually revealing and made us realize that our customers have more in common than we thought, despite being so different. #3 Breaking down our journey, clarifying our end goals and aligning our user experience with accordingly. #4 The concept of lateral thinking as a powerful tool to make us think out of the box and to generate creative solutions by relating properties of random objects to what we do. #5 It reminded us how important it is to take our ideas outside and get external opinions about what we are doing. We all loved the workshop, thank you MS Ventures for bringing it to us!

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