“Accelerate your business with data” is the central theme of Sprout’s new bookazine HACK featuring an interview with EdgeLeap by Philip Bueters. A good read to get an insight in how EdgeLeap helps its clients to streamline their R&D strategy![See original article in Dutch or read it below.]
Marijana Radonjic and Thomas Kelder, co-founders of EdgeLeap are building a platform that provides customers with insight into information on which they can tailor their R&D strategy. “We are converting data from information sources into actionable knowledge.”
Large corporates are investing billions in R & D, and on behalf of their shareholders, they are required to make the right choices. What are the promising products and markets of the day after tomorrow? Which technology and patents are available now, do we have them in house, or should we buy them?
Large R & D investors employ people whose job is to continuously look for information to find the answers to such questions. Consultants also earn good money with the market research they provide to large customers. But can they review all relevant information? And are the reports and insights always up to date?
Impossible, according to Marijana Radonjic and Thomas Kelder, former TNO researchers who started EdgeLeap in 2014. Empower your decision making is the payoff of their company, and that’s exactly what their intelligent platform does. Kelder and Radonjic offer it as an online, software as a service platform. Radonjic: “We start at the user side, with the problem that the client is struggling with.” Edgeleap analyzes what information sources R & D’ers base their strategic decisions on – often literature, news and many databases – and “teaches” it’s system which specific knowledge is relevant. Because artificial intelligence begins with the stupid power of a computer, it often requires a training day during which the R & D staffers indicate what information is relevant to them and what not. “We translate this knowledge in artificial intelligence models at the core of EdgeFlow, which return clients insights that are critical for their specific area of interest. If you have a massive amount of data, machine learning is not very challenging,” says Kelder, “but if you work with a few people who get their knowledge from a limited amount of information, building a well-functioning algorithm becomes complicated.”
Once the platform, EdgeFlow, has been set up, it shows its distinguishing feature: it represents all relevant knowledge for strategic decision making, in real time and visualized in user-friendly dashboards, making it attractive to work with. “That’s quite an issue in the R & D world: the techies that build the IT tools do not always have an eye for the end user,” says Radonjic. “They are often surprised when we show how things can be done differently. Usually we exceed the expectations that customers have of AI. ”
Applying the latest AI-technology is not a goal in itself. A better, more efficient, and well-funded decision making process is. “A survey that would take a couple of employees three months work, can be shortened to a couple of days thanks to EdgeFlow,” says Kelder. Most importantly, the platform continues to feed itself with new data. “Any other approach just provides a snapshot of reality.”
Nowadays EdgeLeap has mainly customers in the food, pharmaceutical and biotech sectors but all industries could benefit from EdgeFlow. “We definitely want to grow the company, but in the short term, we have no plans to speed up growth with a licensing model. We provide craft solutions, we do not foster the ambition to become a McDonald’s.”