Farewell and good luck to a competitor.
Back in the early 2000’s, there weren’t a lot of companies in the text analytics space, and we were all fairly specialized. We had our sentiment engine, Basis had their languages, and Attensity had their “triples.”
We have always all been aware of each other. Text analytics is an interesting competitive space – it’s very, very difficult from a technical perspective, and language tends to change across domains, so there tended to be a lot of specialization in the earlier years – even now, companies who are strong in eDiscovery aren’t particularly strong with social, and companies who are really strong in social aren’t particularly strong in parsing patents. However, there’s some use-case crossover, and we all ran into each other from time to time.
Even in the most competitive accounts, where we all were trying for the business, there’s been a sense of honor, of propriety – no (well, ok, minimal :]) games, just “who’s going to give the best price with the best fit?” That’s something I really appreciate. I like to win because we’re the best, not because we pulled some shenanigans, and that’s the sort of competition that we have always gotten from the other players in this space.
Which is why it isn’t a completely happy moment for me to see someone like Attensity selling their IP to another company1. In a way, it’s a good thing for us – removes market confusion, pulls a well known name out of the game (at least that’s what I anticipate, I don’t really know what their parent company is going to do), leaves us as one of the most credible pure-play text analytics vendors.
This is something I predicted would happen―not specifically with Attensity, but generally, that 2016 is going to be the Year of the Reaper for machine learning and unstructured data companies. Again this is a good thing for us because unlike a lot of other companies, we’re profitable, have a solid customer base, and are growing nicely.
I remember when they re-launched last year with their new categorization technology, and I was all “oooh, shiny!” I remember first being exposed to Inttensity (their intelligence/homeland security arm) and thinking, “that’s a clever idea, I’d love to get more government business.”
And now I’d like to take a moment to say that I hope that they all made out like bandits and sold their IP very dearly.
Good luck in your future ventures!
— Seth Grimes (@SethGrimes) February 25, 2016