Newark, Delaware-based Quantum Leap Innovations launches Buzz, a different approach to social media analytics
Joseph Budner Elad has spent much of the past 12 years developing a "Pattern Based Analytics" engine, which uses a combination of statistical, mathematical, heuristic and other tools to discover patterns in data that otherwise might not be seen by different methodologies. Elad, born in Israel, came to the US to do graduate studies at the Univesity of Delaware before getting drawn into the entrepreneurial world. The company he founded, Quantum Leap Innovations, has about 15 employees and is based in the Delaware Technology Park in Newark. Up until now, most of Quantum Leap's work has been project-oriented, particularly for the Department of Defense, and also for corporations such as DuPont and and Verizon, and Life Sciences companies. Examples of major projects include tracking pandemic influenza outbreaks, discovering patterns in Health Care fraud, and analyzing the trading patterns of individual traders. Quantum Leap says its approach allows "flexible discovery, visualization and analysis of informative patterns in large, complex data environments". Gartner named Quantum Leap one of its "Cool Vendors" in the Life Sciences sector for 2011.
Now Elad is making a pivot; while not walking away from the project business that currently pays the bills, Quantum Leap last week introduced Quantum Leap Buzz, a desktop app for analyzing trends and connections from the information posted on Twitter. Its available for Mac or PC for $10 per year beginning on February 29; until then a beta version can be downloaded for free. A more sophisticated version geared towards businesses is planned for release in the Spring with a price in the $500 per year range. The present version works only with Twitter, though Quantum Leap may eventually expand the software to work with Facebook and Google+ also. I used the beta version this past weekend to try to keep track of and separate all the rumors and facts coming out about Joe Paterno's declining health on Twitter, and found it helpful.
Moving from a project-oriented business to providing a software tool to a broad user base (Elad would like to have a million users) involves significant challenges. Though he is not taking on venture funds now, telling me in a phone interview that Quantum Leap is profitable and has no debt, Elad does have a powerful braintrust helping as advisors. Board of Directors members include Rick Bennett, a marketing consultant who contributed to Oracle's and Salesforce's early market succeesses and specializes in using guerilla maketing techniques to get early stage products noticed; he is also a member of Safeguard Scientifics' Technology Advisory Board. Others are Stephen H. Coltrin, a Bucks County resident and founder of Coltrin & Associates, Inc., a New York public relations firm which helped launch Palm Computing and the Salt Lake Winter Olympics, and Michael A. Cusumano, Ph.D., Sloan Management Review Distinguished Professor of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management. I asked Elad if he had considered forming partnerships with more established business intelligence software providers such as QlikTech or Tableau, but he says Quantum Leap is determined to build its own brand. Bennett says the company seeks to take a viral marketing approach to spread product adoption.
Social Media Analytics is a hot field right now. Salesforce acquired Radian6 for $326 million last year, and SAP recently formed a partnership with NetBase. SAS Institute is a major player, IBM has some excellent technology, and there are many startups focused on different segments of the market.