Websites presented by most mainstream search engines represent only a fraction of what’s freely available online. With its DataVoyant platform, Cardiff-based AMPLYFI lets businesses harvest vital information hidden in the deepest levels of the web.
While working for BP, Chris Ganje and his future business partner Ian Jones had a eureka moment. Mining the internet for business intelligence is nothing new. But could organisations improve their decision-making even further – and spot potential disruptions on the horizon – if they could analyse online data that normally remains hidden?
The duo set up AMPLYFI in 2015, having started working on what would become their flagship product DataVoyant the previous year. It’s a software platform that harvests information from both the surface web – the pages that are returned by search engines such as Google – and the deep web, the parts that consumer search engines choose not to present.
DataVoyant uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data visualisation to create insights, allowing users to identify and react to trends and disruption.
Ganje says: “DataVoyant allows a user to enter a simple query to discover and analyse millions of open source, freely available documents that exist on the surface and deep web. Using intelligent algorithms, DataVoyant develops a picture of a topic that allows you to discover what is happening, where it’s happening, who is driving activity and whether that activity is accelerating or decelerating. The original documents are attached to this analysis, providing full auditability of the results.”
Potential users include financial-services businesses who are seeking to understand their exposure to bad debt, or to develop insights on new markets so they can assess whether or not to back a business.
DataVoyant has already found favour with private companies and government departments alike. Clients include Airbus, Bayer, BNP Paribas, BP, the Singaporean Government and Lloyds Bank. In 2017, AMPLYFI partnered with Harvard University to deliver ground-breaking research into bioterror capabilities in North Korea. Ganje says: “DataVoyant located, harvested and analysed over 840,000 documents relevant to biological weapons research. Using the resulting analysis, we were able to uncover the connections between certain assets known to be owned by North Korea and very particular terms associated with bioweapons capability, either directly or indirectly. DataVoyant identified a significant increase in the strength of these connections in recent years.”
Ganje and his co-founders took the decision to base their business in Cardiff after assessing options all over the globe. AMPLYFI continues to operate out of the Tramshed Tech collaborative workspace near Cardiff Central railway station. Ganje says: “We knew that we were on to something really big, and that we needed to base ourselves where we would have access to top talent and could thrive as a start-up. We conducted an assessment of different regions and cities around the world. Cardiff came out on top, matched only by Boston.
“Cardiff turned out to be the right decision, because we have more access to talent here than we would have anywhere else in the world. People come from other countries and enjoy the quality of life in South Wales, including the countryside and the city’s vibrant cultural life.”
AMPLYFI is planning to widen its portfolio with a number of product launches. “One is a world-first surface and deep-web search engine,” says Ganje. “That will be coming out this spring. But above all, we’re looking to commercialise technology that was only theoretically possible until recently. Our vision is to be the global leader in business intelligence and research, and we are well on our way to achieving this.”