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!

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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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Meet the DefinedCrowd Lisbon team

Lisbon, Portugal. A sunny and elegant city facing the wide Atlantic ocean, city of poets, fado singers and sailors. City of technology and innovation. This was the place DefinedCrowd chose to harbor its R&D team, right in downtown Lisboa, two steps from the Tejo river, in one of the most prestigious Startup incubators, Startup Lisboa. We’re proud to introduce our team in Lisbon (from left to right): João Freitas, our Director of Engineering, Sara Oliveira, UX designer and Marketing Manager and Daan Baldewijns, our PM and Linguist Lead.

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João is a PhD in Human-Computer Interactions, with 9+ years of experience in Speech at Microsoft. At work, João spends his time developing creative solutions that cross areas as diverse as speech recognition, machine learning and human-computer interaction. Beyond the technical work, he is also responsible for keeping everyone happy at the Portuguese office through a mix of dark chocolate, coffee and occasional juggling. In his free time João enjoys doing sports, like swimming, football, and recently scuba diving.

Sara is the youngest member of the team and never stops to amaze us by being incredibly talented and creative. Besides having to bear with the tech nerds in the Lisbon office, she maintains the brand unity and leads the marketing efforts for DefinedCrowd globally.

Daan is our most recent acquisition. He’s our Project Manager and Linguist Lead. Daan has been called both a tech and language nerd, attempted insults he now considers using as a slogan on his business card. 8 years of experience in speech and language technology, master in Germanic Languages and Artificial intelligence. When not reading, writing or otherwise interacting with the alphabet, he likes to play table tennis, pool, ride his motorcycle and retreat into the wildest nature he can find.

This is the team with whom we got used to start our mornings here in the Seattle office, the team who brings us the best platform in the world wrapped in a bit of the Atlantic breeze and the warmth of the Portuguese culture.

The team is growing and we’re hiring talented front-end developers. Applications are welcomed (please email us at: mail@definedcrowd.com).

 

Settling in Microsoft Ventures Seattle Office

It has been an very exciting week for @DefinedCrowd team! We settled in this gorgeous Microsoft Ventures Seattle office at Westlake and started this intense 4-month program immediately!

First week impression:

  • @MSFTVentures Seattle team is extremely supportive and knowledgeable. From customer acquisition strategy, to fundraising techniques, and marketing and PR. They are a well-rounded team! @hananl
  • Most of our cohort members from this batch are mature companies with great tractions and advanced technologies. Shout out to @Affinio  @agolo @clarifyio @theknomos @medwhatyou @OneBridgeSln @percolata_com @plexussupdates and @simmachines
  • Last but for sure not least is the collaborative culture here! Within the short 5 days, we have already received a good amount of questions and feedbacks to help us continue improve and grow!
3 months and 3 more weeks to go! We are looking forward to all the great connections and tips of growing into a successful business!

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