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Hear the Chorus of customer sentiment

Originally conceived as an additional feature to another product, Chorus' consumer mood-tracking technology has a shot at success all on its own after its selection in the Startmate investment program.
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Written by Mahesh Sharma, Correspondent on

Originally conceived as an additional feature to another product, Chorus' consumer mood-tracking technology has a shot at success all on its own after its selection in the Startmate investment program.

Venture capital fund Startmate committed $25,000 and mentoring support to Chorus founders Dave Trindall and Andy Morris, who developed the application to monitor and report customer data (emails, Twitter mentions, Facebook updates, etc), underpinned by proprietary technology, Opinionator.

Chorus looks at all available customer communications in real time, including social networks, emails, web survey forms and more, which is deciphered using Opinionator, the "most accurate" natural language processing engine on the market, Trindall said.

"We haven't seen anything that really compares to Opinionator," he said. "We've taken existing NLP techniques (Natural Language Processing) and added some core enhancements that mean we offer very high accuracy."

"Our competitors simply aren't that accurate. For example, our competitors might tell you that a tweet saying 'This new coke bottle is wicked' expresses negative sentiment towards Coca Cola. In reality it's using slang to express positive sentiment, and Opinionator detects this."

Chorus was one of five businesses selected from a field of over 50 to participate in the Startmate program, and Trindall's motivation is to absorb as much information from some of the fund's 27 successful Australian entrepreneurs who are investing in the local industry.

"As two founders with purely technical backgrounds, we expect to really grow in a few important skills required for building a business that will add significant value to our customers."

Chorus was conceived at "roughly" 10am on 30 September 2010, and soon after it found its first customer. Trindall and Morris were due to make a product pitch to a prospective client, and at the last minute tacked-on a "sentiment analysis" feature, which ultimately was the only feature the customer cared about. This was the genesis of Chorus.

The company is now breaking even, charging a monthly subscription based on the volume of data analysed. Discussions are being carried out with a number of other Australian companies, he said.

Commentary

Strengths

The company's breaking even with one customer. It's using proprietary technology and has Startmate backing.

Weakness

Operates in a crowded market, which will only get more crowded.

Opportunities

Companies need help to make sense of the exponential growth in customer-related data.

Threats

A big organisation like Google, Facebook or Twitter could produce their own tools.

Conclusion

Despite the risks and obstacles, Chorus is already a success, breaking even with just one customer. With the support of Startmate, prospects look good.

VERDICT: BOOM

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