Dataminr, Bin Laden Death Detector, Sets Twitter Deal

By : Subscribe to David's | April 10, 2012 12:47 AM IST

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Dataminr, a social media data analysis company that detected the attack on Osama Bin Laden's compound and reported it first, said it established an alliance with Twitter.

Financial terms between Dataminr, of New York, and Twitter, of San Francisco, weren't disclosed. Both companies are privately held.

"Twitter will be putting all its publicly available tweets into our feed," said Ted Bailey, Dataminr CEO, in a telephone interview. "We will be able to dive deep into the data by using our unique data sets."

Bailey, 31, a co-founder of the company with fellow Yale graduates, declined to say how long the negotiations with Twitter lasted. Not on the table: acquisition of Dataminr by Twitter, which has announced plans to file for a future initial public offering.

Bailey said Dataminr will benefit because Twitter's data feeds are dynamic and sense patterns in communications and interests. Dataminr's technology involving use of the vast but open-source Hadoop data analysis tools used by Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO), which knocks down data cluster in smaller parts, also enable its work.

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First on Bin Laden

Dataminr will have rights to Twitter's Firehose application in real time. The intent is intent to permit analysis of as many as 340 million daily tweets. The goal is to alert clients about micro-trends or major events that might go undetected.

Last May 1, as CIA commandos were raiding Bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan, Dataminr's software detected it before the official announcement by monitoring 19 tweets in five minutes for their sentiency, language use and other characteristics to notify clients of the event.

Within 19 minutes of detection, S&P Futures started to trade up on the news, which was then reported by financial news services. President Barack Obama didn't announce the Bin Laden death for another 85 minutes.

Subsequently, three-year-old Dataminr has attracted new clients from the business and government sector, including some of the biggest investment banks as well as government agencies. Besides using Hadoop, Dataminr contracts with Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) for computing services. Bailey said the Twitter deal won't require new investment.

In a statement, Twitter VP of Product Satya Patel said the company was "excited to have Dataminr apply its technical prowess to help enterprise clients identify events that are the most relevant."

Dataminr employs 20 people. Bailey said it had raised about $7 million from venture capital from individuals including David Tisch, whose family controls Loews Corp. (NYSE: L.), as well as Josh Abramowitz and Jeff Miller.

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