Two former distribution executives have revealed ambitious growth plans for IQBlade, a market intelligence platform that aims to use machine-learning techniques to help vendors select partners.
Founded by former Bell Micro executives Antony Young and Ben Abraham, IQBlade recently snared £325,000 in equity funding from Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.
The funds have been earmarked to expand headcount from 10 to 32 over the next three years.
Young said the concept of IQBlade was born three years ago when he and Abraham were working with vendors through their consulting business, Demuto.
"We realised there was a lack of intelligence in terms of how they go about selecting channel partners," he said.
"They were paying us to tell them which channel partners to work with. These were quite surprising vendors with big channel teams. So we started looking at how we could automate that process.
"[IQBlade] has all the technology companies in the UK in it and we've automated the profiling of them: what their financials look like; which are growing and which are shrinking; what they are talking about on their website and social media profiles; who their directors and shareholders are; which technical competences and accreditations they have - it's all automated."
Vendors can use IQBlade to analyse their existing channel to optimise where they are placing their bets, Young said.
"The second user case, which is more common, is when a vendor says 'I need to find some new partners that look like this'," he added. "We can do that in one of two ways. We can do a cold search of our database using their profile. Or we can use machine learning to analyse their existing channel, they tell us which are their best partners and why, and we then pattern match that into the rest of the database. We are working with the University of Liverpool and the guys we have recruited are more data scientists than developers."
IQBlade can also draw on machine-learning techniques to help vendors or resellers generate end-user leads, Young said.
"We can analyse an end-user's technology stack by looking at things like job adverts and ITTs and predicting which technologies they are using and doing pattern matching. [A vendor or channel partner could say] 'I need to find end users in the UK that are bigger than £5m and who use Oracle but don't use VMware'. We can do that for them."
IQBlade currently has 6,000 fully fleshed-out UK profiles. Although the firm currently focuses on the UK, Young said the platform's capabilities can be replicated in France and the Nordics.
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