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Industry: Media and information extraction
Product: Figurit dashboard
Product launch: 2016
Founders: Haramoun Hamieh and Ahmad Sharif
Haramoun Hamieh, a digital content manager with five years experience at Al-Hayat newspaper, and Ahmad Sharif, a senior information management consultant at Layout International, came together to form Figurit after their apparent frustrations with the workflow process within the journalism sector. They have developed an “intelligent data-driven dashboard”, as described by Hamieh, to provide journalists with information and analytics in trending stories.
Founded in 2015, the content discovery concept offers more than just an alert to current trends. Figurit’s unique selling point is their ability to offer in-depth analysis of the news, rather than simple traffic analytics, and present information which is grouped into one electronic resource. Their dashboard is key in reducing the time spent in content discovery, often by wire services that are ultimately outsourced, and to improve results through accurate visualization with a dashboard of visualized scientific analysis of big data. For example, a google search on the ‘Greek crisis’ will yield a list of links that are identified through inclusion of those keywords. Figurit, however, aims to go one step further by collating a large amount of information into a digestible and selectable package which includes historical analysis of trends, competitor coverage and a key to the main actors within a story, with other metrics like sentiment analysis, coverage scope and geo-mapping of events. The technology behind the dashboard extracts data from news sources, and algorithms analyse the content. The algorithms can harness the power of natural language processing (NLP) – a field of artificial intelligence – that has real-world applications in discourse analysis and automatic summarization. They can also be programmed to identify parody or erroneous news sources and will be included in the Figurit dashboard to, for example, notify the user when an actor is first mentioned in relevance to a trending story (e.g. Nicolas Sarkozy in the Greek crisis). Figurit has direct appeal to any individual involved in investigative journalism, with a wider appeal to all news and content production companies. For scalability and applicability, the technology also has the ability to forecast trends and notify individuals of breaks to patterns within content analysis.
The intention is to start with English websites and later expand the dashboard to incorporate other languages. The initial target market is digital news startups, for which the co-founders have developed their minimal viable product (MVP), and have used a cash injection of $25,000 from AltCity’s bootcamp, which they are currently enrolled in. Their current business model will generate revenue from direct sales of subscriptions to freelancers, at an estimate of $150 per month for two users, and a larger publisher package to newsrooms, which extends to five users and includes historical data for $300. Their expectations of total revenue are built on a target set for the 36 month mark. At this time they would hope to see 300 paying subscriptions per month that they calculate will bring in recurring monthly revenue of $60,000, with estimated operating costs at 30 percent of revenue, minimized due to the cloud-based nature of the dashboard. Hamieh cites future investments as a key boost to their development, and will appeal for a maximum of $200,000 from external investors at a pitching event sponsored by Banque du Liban, Lebanon’s central bank, scheduled for December 18, 2015.