RelSci has become a favorite tool of some of the biggest banks and companies in the world. It scrapes data from thousands of sources to let you know exactly how you’re connected to just about anybody in the world as well as the best way to get in touch with them.
Last week, it released an app that makes one of the most popular features of its $9,000 a month (base level) enterprise service available for iPhone users for free. The company has raised $90 million for the platform, has 550 corporate customers, and 500 employees after just 18 months.
The app, Mine, syncs up with your phone contacts and LinkedIn network, then delivers curated updates on professional contacts and their companies. It’s not just press releases or articles.
“We integrate data from depending on how you count it, tens to hundreds of thousands of sources,” CEO Neal Goldman says. “These are not things that would come in as a news alert: government filings, filings nonprofits make with the IRS, and very esoteric forms like Form Ds.”
A Form D indicates someone has raised capital. Goldman thinks this kind of information, delivered in a rapid and clean way, will be useful to just about anyone in business, who has clients, contacts or sells into enterprises.
It’s all data rather than a tool like LinkedIn–people don’t provide any updates themselves, and there’s no way to contact people through the app.
CEO Neal Goldman hopes the free service will drive even more business to the much more powerful enterprise product. The full RelSci platform lets you look up just about anybody, then maps out in great detail exactly how you’re connected to them through colleagues and other relationships, and ranks how strong those connections are.
“It’s a real opportunity generation engine, because when you see what’s happening in people’s lives, it’s a reason to reach out or offer congratulations or say we should get together,” Goldman says.
The difference with something like Google Alerts is the depth of information and the level of curation. The company’s algorithms are able to filter out irrelevant and duplicate information, and excel in making sure you’re always getting information about an actual contact, rather than someone with the same name.
The inevitable question, given the general wariness of people about their online privacy, is whether users will find the service intrusive or creepy.
“To date we haven’t had any problem with that,” Goldman says. “It really is publicly available data and we’re really dealing with positive news information, we’re not dealing with credit type information or other types of things that might be more invasive. I don’t foresee that being a problem. When we first started raising money for our platform, people would say wow that’s scary, but wow I love it.”
A number of investors, including Henry Kravis and Kenneth Langone, and blue chip clients have embraced the company. We’ll see now if a much bigger audience finds it useful, or feels like Big Brother is watching.