Tech Pitch: Relative Insight

Used by the likes of Microsoft and Saatchi & Saatchi, find out how this start-up helps brands analyse the way their target market speaks online...

Company name: Relative Insight
Founders: James Walkerdine, Phil Greenwood, and Ben Hookway
Background: PhD’s in language modeling and attribution systems
Based in: Lancaster and London

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

  • Relative Insight helps brands resonate with consumers by revealing how different consumer groups talk.
  • We turn language into data and then compare data sets to understand the subtle differences between consumer groups, exposing actionable intelligence for brands which allows them to determine what language to use and in what context.

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

Unstructured consumer language on the web is massive and growing. It’s a gold mine of data and insight if you apply the right analysis techniques at the right scale. These massive changes in the digital world make our technology valuable as we allow marketers to deal with this exponential growth of unstructured data, efficiently and objectively. We can now understand what consumers think and say without having to ask them.  We are disrupting the market research industry by analysing 100x more language in less than a tenth of the time.

Are you funded?

Yes. Enterprise Ventures invested in the company.

What were you doing before starting?

Hookway (CEO): I’ve had a background in enterprise software, and was in San Francisco during the .com years where I was involved in four companies. When I came back to the UK, I co-founded a mobile software company which we successfully exited and I’ve worked with venture capital firms (VCs) for almost the entire time I’ve been back in the UK.

Enterprise Ventures, now part of Mercia Technologies, invested in Relative Insight in the very first days of the company as they recognised the potential of the technology.

The technology was developed as a result of a collaboration between government agencies and academia to develop law-enforcement solutions which leveraged language analytics to detect crime. After working with the team to look at other opportunities, I joined to apply the technology to the marketing and advertising world.

What’s the best thing about where you’re based?

We’re fortunate to be based in both Lancaster and London. Lancaster is a beautiful town, close to the lake district, and it has top graduate talent not only in cybersecurity and data science, but is home to the UK’s number one marketing department.

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Our London office serves our key clients, and we spend a lot of time in New York as that market is really bringing to develop for us.


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