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29 July 2014

University spin-out Relative Insight turns language into revenue

"This investment will allow us to further develop our Relative Insight offering and turn it into a successful global business."

Relative Insight

Dr James Walkerdine and Dr Phil Greenwood, founders of Relative Insight 

Relative Insight, a spin-out from Lancaster University, has secured further funding from The North West Fund for Venture Capital to accelerate the roll-out of its language analysis software to the branding and advertising world. The company has already attracted significant attention, helping brands and agencies analyse all language associated with an organisation and determine how it resonates with key audiences.

Relative Insight has secured contracts in the last year with major brands and advertising agencies including; Microsoft Mobile, Saatchi & Saatchi, Havas, Ogilvy, and Manning Gottlieb OMD, and is looking to add many more.

Ben Hookway, CEO of the company, explained, "The software provides, for the first time, a standard against which a brand's language usage can be analysed. Major brands have begun to use this as a means of analysing consistency in branding across their organisation as well as comparison of language with competitor brands. We also work with consumer language; understanding the subtle differences that enable our clients to target the right message. The results have been quite revealing and have already led to changes in brand messaging by customers."

The company received its initial investment in 2012, from The North West Fund for Venture Capital and Lancashire's Rosebud Finance. This investment was used to further develop the core analysis technology and expand the management team, with the appointment of experienced executives; Patrick Jolly as chairman, Ben Hookway as CEO, and Rich Wilson as CMO. Versions of the software were already in use with international law enforcement agencies where it is used to investigate a range of cyber-crimes.

Based at Lancaster University's Infolab21, the company was founded in 2011 by the COO, Dr James Walkerdine and CTO, Dr Phil Greenwood who had previously worked together on a number of projects involving language analysis and online forensics. James said: "Lancaster University has a world leading Marketing Department which has been very supportive and helped introduce us to a number of key agencies and brands. This is a mutually beneficial relationship and going forward we can contribute to the various marketing courses run by the University and are already recruiting from their talented student pool as we expand.

"This investment will allow us to further develop our Relative Insight offering and turn it into a successful global business. Whilst our attention is currently very much focussed on marketing, the law enforcement development will continue as that area faces unique challenges as highlighted in recently reported cases."

Doug Stellman, Investment Director at Enterprise Ventures, which manages The North West Fund for Venture Capital said, "To have this business develop out of a University in the North West that leads the field in Computing, Language and Marketing is a real alignment of the stars.

"It has been a pleasure to watch the team's blend of commercial and technical skills deliver a novel product that major blue chip customers are genuinely excited about.

"I would hope we are looking at the early stages of another great example of the role that universities have in working with entrepreneurs to create a sustainable economy through providing world class skills and globally applicable innovation. It is a key role of The North West Fund for Venture Capital to then support university spin-out businesses with the finance they need to drive growth and inspire more entrepreneurs."

For more information about how you may be able to access funding for your new business please visit http://www.thenorthwestfund.co.uk/funds/venture-capital

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