Scoop Analytics detect breaking news, before it breaks
Please introduce yourself and your Scoop Analytics to our readers!
My name is Phil McParlane, the founder of Scoop Analytics and completing Scottish PhD student (its been a long time coming!) from the University of Glasgow.
How did you get the idea to Scoop Analytics?
It was developed when my friend, James, and I were undertaking PhD’s in Computing Science at Glasgow university. James’ PhD processed social media posts in order to automatically identify breaking news stories as they happen, and before it hit mainstream media. We quickly realised there was a market for this when the algorithm identified the Death of the King of Saudi Arabia 1 hour before the public announcement, and 1 hour before the price of oil was subsequently impacted.
How difficult was the start and what challenges you had to overcome?
The most difficult part of creating a start up is that you need to cover frontend + backend development, sales, marketing, pitching, PR etc with only 1 or 2 full time employees! Since then, however, we have gained much support from the University with Jill Ramsay from the School offering significant help in many of these areas. Secondly, we recently employed a social media intern on a short term basis to help us push Scoop to the next level.
Who is your target audience?
Our first market is journalism, given the obvious advantage of “getting the news first“ – however we believe the real value of our product is for finance. Currently financial institutes pay $100k’s to get servers which “are nearer the door” in data warehouses in order to get a competitive advantage of a few milliseconds. Using Scoop, we can give these companies minutes or even hours of advantage, which is very valuable for trading purposes. Lastly, I personally used Scoop recently for sports betting purposes on deadline day – where we were alerted to football players transfers before they were officially announced. I was able to profit £500 doing this (although I should probably keep this secret to myself!).
What is the USP of your startup?
Our USP is our news detection algorithm, built upon 10 years of research from the University of Glasgow, which automatically processes social media messages in real time and “detects” whether a news story is breaking – giving a significant time advantage over traditional newswire streams (e.g. Reuters, Bloomberg etc).
Can you describe a typical workday of you?
I have a very unusual workday with my hours stemming from my 8 years as a student; I guess Ive never shook this off! I usually start working about 11am, mostly coding our dashboard, updating our sales website, emailing or pushing our social media platforms. I then work to about 5pm, stop for a few hours to have dinner with my wife, watch/play football and then resume work at about 11pm, usually finishing at 2 or 3am. I often wonder if Ill ever work the traditional 9-5, but I guess as I get older, time will tell…
Where do you see yourself and your startup in five years?
I’d love to say in a country warmer than Scotland, but given that Ive not managed this after 27 years, I’ll assume this is unlikely! As for Scoop, we hope to have had significant traction in the Journalism and Finance sectors and hopefully a few extra pairs of hands to help, but again, time will tell.
What 3 tips would you give other Start-up founders on the way?
My main tip would be “don’t think its easier than a 9-5“, because its not.It’s the old cliche: “Being an entrepreneur is working 80 hour weeks to avoid working 40 hours for someone else.” Apart from that: instead of creating something that is “cool”, really try to get into the mind of the customer and when using your product ask yourself “if I’m the customer, how would I use it, and most importantly, how would I gain value from it?”. Lastly, if you really believe there is value in your product, don’t give up until to you financially have to (this is the situation I find myself in!).
More information you will find here
We are grateful to Philip McParlane for the interview
The statements of the author of the interviewee do not necessarily represent the opinion of the editors or the publishers.