January 3, 2022

The History of Speciate – A Chat with our Founder

The History of Speciate – A Chat with our Founder

At Speciate AI, we help businesses identify market opportunities and create value in novel ways through our AI-powered market monitoring solution. We combine AI with our expert human intelligence to uncover hidden insights from the unique relationships between data points. Speciate’s ability to view and filter through billions of data points allows us to collect information at blistering speeds, much faster than traditionally manual methods.


Our purpose is to make meaning of a vast world rich in data – both structured and unstructured – to inform and enhance the strategic clarity for our clients about their competitors, customer experience, product development and much more.

We sat down with our Founder, Paul Blase, to gain insight into how Speciate works, how companies across industries can benefit from our competitive intelligence platform, and how we’re different from other competitive intelligence tools. Find details on these topics and more in the Q&A below. 


Thanks so much for taking the time today, Paul. Can you share when and how Speciate was founded?

Paul: Speciate was founded in 2018. Kate Besser, Spencer Allee, and I worked together in PwC’s Analytics Practice, and came to the realization that Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms were reaching a level of sophistication where meaningful insights could be extracted from text data. 

At that time, we were using Amazon reviews to identify our client’s important product features while building a product scorecard. We successfully identified, using NLP algorithms, whether reviewers felt positively or negatively about the specific features in question. After seeing the results from one use case, I envisioned the potential of all that Speciate could accomplish, and that was the moment Speciate was born.


Where does the name “Speciate” come from?

Paul: The name Speciate comes from the term “speciation”, the formation of a new and distinct species in the course of evolution. As human knowledge evolves, so too does our technology. 


It is a fitting name given AI’s prowess in evolving and improving how humans extract intelligence from data, ultimately improving decision making and augmenting physical capabilities. To the same degree, Speciate AI helps business executives and analysts evolve by giving them solutions to extract patterns and novel insights from terabytes of unstructured data.


Let’s talk about data. What’s the difference between structured and unstructured data? Is there really a difference?

Paul: Yes, there is absolutely a difference. Think of structured data as living in a tabular form, stored in rows and columns that can easily be sorted and analyzed based on its structure. The data model, or the definition of each column and row, governs what you will find in the structure and ultimately informs how the data can be used. Credit card transactions are a good example of structured data: each record stored in the database will likely contain data like your name, address, merchant name where you purchased a product, and the total value of how much you spent.

Unstructured data, on the other hand, does not have a predefined data model and is usually not organized in a predefined structure. Media articles are a prime example of documents that house unstructured data, which may contain names of a person, dates, numbers, and facts. This type of data is usually text-heavy, and is seldom located in the same place in every article. In this sense, there is no structure that inherently governs where you can find this information in any given article.


Speciate AI has developed a world-class ontology – a data model for unstructured data – that specifies attribute categories like time, peoples, companies, products, academic institutions, patents and more to be extracted from unstructured data. Our ontology includes rules for how the attribute categories relate to each other. For example, an ontology would specify how to link companies mentioned in thousands of different media sources, potentially referred to in nuanced ways (Apple, Apple Inc.) to its products (iPhone, MacBook Air) while not linking it to competitor products (e.g. Samsung Galaxy).


Is Speciate truly powered by Artificial Intelligence?

Paul: Yes. Speciate AI uses Natural Language Processing algorithms that have been created by artificial intelligence to interpret and extract meaning from text data. Included in NLP are Word 2 Vec algorithms that are based on a mathematical model that represents all the different conceivable permutations of text in the English language (and other languages) and sentiment scoring algorithms that infer if specific text combinations are positive or negative in tone.

While Speciate is powered by AI, it’s the expert knowledge of our analysts and data scientists that extract meaning from the relationship between data, ultimately gathering the hidden novel insights that businesses need to gain advantages over their competitors.


Speciate is powerful, that’s certain. But who gets the most value out of Speciate?

Paul: Speciate suits a variety of needs for market research and competitive intelligence teams. Specifically, senior executives and business analysts interested in identifying and monitoring important trends impacting their organization, its stakeholders, customers and competitors will get the most value from our powerful solution.

We create value by formulating strategic narratives brought together by unstructured data, and by reducing the time it takes to even get to a point of analysis. Think about it – you can depend on your data science team to spend days, even weeks, reading 400,000 articles or social posts to identify patterns across thousands of topic permutations, or you can use Speciate AI’s algorithms to pinpoint areas for analysis in a matter of seconds.

What types of questions can Speciate answer, and how is it different from other competitive intelligence platforms?

Paul: Speciate answers a multitude of questions about many domains, so it depends on what the use case is. We’ve completed analyses that addressed how ESG trends have impacted specific companies and industries. We’ve delivered clear, strategic narratives on emerging technologies associated with brain computing interface solutions. We’ve even gone as far as identifying emerging technologies that our client’s competitors are investing in.

The power of Speciate rests in our ontology and its rules to specify the relationship of numerous attribute categories to each other. This ontology is what sets us apart from other competitive intelligence tools and providers, since we’re able to answer questions that involve multivariate analysis that others simply cannot.


Speciate AI’s market monitoring solution, driven by powerful artificial intelligence and coupled with expert human intelligence, exists to provide a better, faster, and smarter way to deliver on competitive intelligence projects. Schedule a demo to see how Speciate AI can upgrade your competitive intelligence, and to get your next competitive advantage.