Episode: 58 |
Aner Ravon:
AI for Market Research:


Aner Ravon

AI for Market Research

Show Notes

Our guest today is Aner Ravon, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Zirra, a technology company focused on market analysis, using big data and artificial intelligence.

Aner and his co-founder recognized a real pain point for investors and anyone else doing research on smaller companies: it is very time intensive to search the universe of sources and pull together a basic set of facts.

They thought, wouldn’t it be nice if we could use artificial intelligence to scan public sources and pull together the basic information, so that analysts can spend their time on processing the information and synthesis. And that is just what they built.

Zirra’s main product is a company snapshot that is built by a combination of artificial intelligence and a human editor who provides quality control.

The snapshots are created on demand and take about 24 hours or less to deliver.

I’ve tried out the service myself and I’ve been very satisfied.

The report you receive looks like it was created by a human.  It draws on dozens of potential sources, such as LinkedIn for number of employees, Glassdoor for employee reviews, websites of the company and its competitors.  All the sources the report relies on are listed with live links.

The price of this company snapshot depends on how many you are going to purchase. If you are buying only a handful, the price starts at $200. If you are industrial scale, the price can get down to $100 each.

The ideal target to research using Zirra has revenue in the $5 to $100 million range.  For smaller companies, there probably isn’t much public on the web for Zirra to scrape.  And for larger companies you can probably find some Wikipedia article or analyst coverage to get you up to speed.

The ideal time to use Zirra is right at the beginning of a project.  If you’ve already been looking at a company for a couple of weeks, you will probably already know most of what Zirra will tell you. The biggest value is using Zirra to quickly get up to speed so starting on Day 2 of your project you’re prepared to ask smarter questions as you pursue your research.

You can get started with Zirra by visiting www.zirra.com, click on the Pricing page and submit an inquiry. Aner himself will read your request and make sure you are taken care of.

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Will Bachman:               Our guest today is Aner Ravon, co-founder and chief revenue officer at Zirra, and that’s spelled Z-I-R-R-A, a technology company focused on market analysis using big data and artificial intelligence. Aner and his co-founder recognized a real pain point for investors and anyone else doing research on smaller companies. It’s very time-intensive to search the universe of sources and pull together a basic set of facts. They thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could use artificial intelligence to scan public sources and pull together the basic information so that analysts can spend their time on processing the information and synthesis?” And, that’s just what they built.

Zirra’s main product is a company snapshot that is built by a combination of artificial intelligence and a human editor who provides quality control. The snapshots are created on demand, and they take about 24 hours or less to deliver. I’ve tried out the service myself, and I have been very satisfied. The report you receive looks like it was created by a human. It draws on dozens of potential sources such as LinkedIn for the number of employees, Glassdoor for employee reviews, the website of the company… And the system also identifies its competitors and draws on the websites of those competitors. All the sources that the report relies on are listed in the report with links, of course.

The price of this company’s snapshot depends on how many you’re gonna purchase. If you’re only gonna buy a few, like me, the price starts at 200 dollars. If you are industrial scale, and you’re gonna spend $50,000 or up per year, the price gets down to about 80 dollars each. Now, the reports aren’t perfect. In the reports I purchased, the competitor list sometimes included a couple companies that weren’t exactly competitors of the target, and they missed one or maybe two actual competitors. But the snapshots are a very good start, and they pull together information that would take me or take a typical analyst a day or more to pull together. So they can be working in the background while you’re working on other things. The ideal target to research using Zirra has revenue in the five to one hundred million dollar range. For smaller companies, there probably isn’t that much public on the Web for Zirra to scrape and to hoover up. And for larger companies you can probably find just some analyst coverage already to get you up to speed.

So the ideal time to use Zirra is right at the beginning of a project. If you’ve already been looking at a company for a couple of weeks, you’ll probably already know most of what Zirra will tell you. The biggest value is using Zirra on day one or day zero, so you quickly get up to speed, and then starting on day two of your project, you’re prepared to ask smarter questions and be more efficient in your research. You can get started with Zirra by visiting www.zirra.com, and then click on the pricing page and submit an inquiry. And Aner himself will read your request and make sure you’re taken care of.

Hello Aner, it is great to have you on the show.

Aner Ravon:                  Thank you! Great to be here.

Will Bachman:               So Aner, hey, I’ve tried your service a couple times and been really satisfied, and thought it was a pretty cool service for other independent professionals to know about. So thanks so much for getting on the show and being willing to make some time to talk about your company and maybe a little background behind it.

Aner Ravon:                  Sure, great! Where do you want me to start?

Will Bachman:               Maybe before we start talking about Zirra, tell me a little bit about your background and what you were doing before you started the company, and how did you end up with the idea?

Aner Ravon:                  Sure. Quite honestly, I think the idea for Zirra is something that’s matured pretty much during the 20 years of my professional career. And it’s not like one of those ideas that just came about as I was facing a little problem this morning. To go a little bit back to my own background. I grew up in Israel, I moved to New York when I was 13. I came back, everybody in Israel has to go through an army service, so I came back when I was 18 to do five years of army. I then studied Economics and Math, and I had to somehow make a living. So I picked up coding and I taught myself how to code, and ended up working for the next 15 years in start-ups. Start-ups spent, some of them were actually a little bit bigger than others. I was fortunate enough to join a company that went public on NASDAQ and I participated in other companies that always were in the process of raising money from investors.

And what I realized during that process is that there’s a huge gap, there’s an ongoing gap between the stories that the parties are sharing. The founders of the start-up have their own story, and then they tell the investors that they want to recruit, they tell them a different story. And these investors, they also have investors who back them up, so they keep telling them, and that’s another, that’s a third story. And then there’s the truth, and the truth is the fourth story. So we are counting four stories which are coexisting pretty much in every situation of a start-up or a company or private company that is raising money.

When you are a part of that mechanism, you play a role. So if you’re a founder, you need to tell the story of a founder. And if you’re an investor, you need to understand a story that keeps an investor. The problem is that the truth kind of gets lost. And when the truth kind of gets lost, what happens is that somebody ends up being disappointed. What you see is that for every 10 or 100 start-ups that start their journey and raise money, only one or two of them actually end up being successful. One of the reasons were these gaps between the stories. So that was something that I kept feeling for the past 20 years.

Right before Zirra, I was working as a chief revenue officer for another high-tech company, which was, again, in the same situation of trying to grow their business in one hand and tell the right investor’s story on the other. When I got a call from my now-partner Moshit`, she was an investment banker and, interestingly enough, we sat down and discussed how to set up a new company and how to start our own company. This is the one thing that we kept on discussing for every meeting. And since we shared all of these stories, but she saw from her angle as an investment banker, she shared how founders kept telling her stories. The idea of creating something that would help level the playing field and actually create a more information-based platform for private companies came about and we started to seriously think about actually creating a company around it.

Will Bachman:               That’s great. So for listeners who haven’t tried Zirra before, maybe give us a quick overview of the main kind of company snapshot product that you create, and we can also talk about the additional interviews and surveys. But why don’t you start with the company snapshot. If somebody gets a Zira, a company snapshot, what are they gonna read?

Aner Ravon:                  Yeah, so maybe just to prelude that just a little bit, I’ll sort of explain how the analysis, what the analysis process is about.

Will Bachman:               Yeah, great.

Aner Ravon:                  We’ve simulated the analysis process and we went through a nine months research on how researchers are actually analyzing companies. Just as an FYI, there’s billions of dollars being spent every year globally collecting information and putting together just simple analysis briefs and summaries. And the structure, it has two components into it. One, the first one is actually information-gathering. This is pretty rigorous, but for experienced analysts, it’s straight-forward and it encapsulates going to pretty much every information source that you can go to, from LinkedIn to seeing how the company structure, who the management team is, what is the employee DNA about. You go through Google and you collect pretty much every information that you can about the company. You try to figure out who the competitors are from that information. Sometimes it’s search for patents. Sometimes you wanna look at job descriptions and job openings to see if the company’s hiring. You can go through many, many, many other sources that are relevant to just gather this information and create a database, an up-to-date database of the company that you’re scouting.

So the first thing that we have focused on is automating that, and so far through today, we have about 90 different sources that we collect on a regular basis. And we create the snapshot that you just mentioned is our term, or our terminology, our branch for a screening report. So if you’re wanna meet a company, you’re meeting a company for the first time, or you just met a company, you sorta wanna understand if this company’s interesting, or you want to get the first hooks for further research, the company snapshot would be a good solution for you. It contains all this information that I just described as well as some basis analysis of what this information means. What are the immediate risks or opportunities that we see, what are the trajectories that we notice? For example, is the traffic to the company website going to increase or on the decrease? Has the company raised more money or less money than their competitors? Who exactly are their competitors? What is the difference between what the company says about their competitors, and what the market actually thinks? And these are all elements that we believe are necessary for screening and for you to make a decision on what direction you want to take with that company. This is a report that you get typically not, no more than 24 hours and it involves some manual labor on top of information that is automatically collected.

Will Bachman:               I’ve purchased a few of these and looked at also a few of your free samples, and I gotta say, it’s super impressive what you’re able to do in 24 hours.

Aner Ravon:                  Thank you.

Will Bachman:               And it really kind of looks like it’s been kind of put together by a human. But talk to me a little bit about, I’d love to hear maybe a couple things. One is, to the extent that you’re willing to share, can you talk about some of those sources that you use? It seems like Glassdoor is one of them and LinkedIn, and you mentioned patents. Can you talk about some of the other sources that you refer to?

Aner Ravon:                  Yeah, so you mentioned a few of them, which are key sources. We also look at similar web for traffic. We look at some premium sources that actually help us count information, networks of experts that help us with their own data. I think the secret sauce is actually I guess were two elements. One is that we can scrape very effectively company websites. We’re not taking any illegal information, we’re just taking the information that is out there on the company website for public use. And if you look at a company and you’re analyzing with computers, with a systemic analysis protocol, their information, and then you compare that information to the information on competitor’s website, you find very, very interesting things, which, I think, are some of the things that you saw in the report. So that’s one element. The second is that we activate a search component, we sort of call it a Google on steroids agent, where we take the key words that we just found and we activate a search, and then we digest all of the articles that match the search criteria.

And all of these creates, will feed what we call the researcher dashboard. And the researcher dashboard is exactly what it sounds like. It’s basically a very big screen with a lot of fields that are automatically set by the engine. And the researcher, the moment the researcher is addressed to the company report, 80% of the report is already done. Their work is basically to find all of the signals that the system has put out to match the right descriptions and the right terminology that the system has suggested, and just make sure that from a quality perspective, everything is consistent, there are no spelling mistakes and no wrong information that seems to stand out, because as much as we love automation, it does have mistakes. It does come with the price of mistakes.

So the normal guy, you said it looks like it was compiled by human beings, and that is because people were involved. We think that as a customer, if you purchase a report and you can call it a report, then you expect some level of quality control. But the amount spent per report on an average is no more than 40 minutes of [inaudible 00:14:04] the researcher. And that is by far more economic and more scalable than any other human-centric alternative, which you can think about.

Will Bachman:               Yeah. To what degree do you look at sort of online reviews of a company’s products that might be scattered across all sorts of user boards or Reddit or Amazon or any kind of review site. To what degree do those factor into the output?

Aner Ravon:                  So they do factor, and we do our best to cover as much as we can. You mentioned that we cover, for example, Glassdoor to see employee reviews, and we look at the app stores, particularly Google Play, to see what users are commenting about applications. Rating is a little bit more difficult because of other technical reasons, so we’re [inaudible 00:14:57] chasing that. We look at blogs and any blog or media entries, and Twitter and social media, a lot of user feedback is found there. The main challenge with analyzing user reviews and user comments is the fact that companies, in many cases, are proactively seeking positive comments and feedback, so you need to be very careful not to give that too much weight. There’s a big mind game going on between our technology and the company’s own ambition to influence those results. To be quite honest, we don’t factor it that much. I mean, it’s the not main factor driving our reports. Maybe because I think a lot of this will come in an aide’s research. And also, we just found that from an invest perspective or if you wanna partner with a company, there is an interest in those reviews, but if not, usually it’s not a decision-making factor.

Will Bachman:               Yeah. So I’d be curious- Just about everything in your report, I think you mentioned except for maybe a couple premium sources is publicly available and things that you could do with a Google search or business through Glassdoor or LinkedIn yourself. But it seems like a lot of the value proposition is you’re packaging it all and putting it in one nice referenced document. Have you ever done any kind of thinking on how much time are you saving someone? So, what would it take if you said to just an individual human, “Okay. Create this company snapshot yourself without the super computer.” Like, how long would it take to compile something like this for a typical researcher?

Aner Ravon:                  It depends. The first question is would this researcher always come up with such a consistent format, and would the researcher always go through the same steps? So there was a lot of thinking and there is a lot of thinking invested in improving the analysis process and the methodology in making sure that every researcher is indeed consistent and technology’s not being lost. One of the huge problems for the analysis universe, so to speak, or ecosystem, is the fact that it’s not consistent. You can go to three different venture capital firms, run through their analysis process the same company, you will get three completely different reports. And I’ve seen it happen. I’ve seen it happen and I’ve managed and I’ve participated in process where it happened. So consistency and methodology can be a challenge. But if you think that the framework is adapted completely by the analyst, I will say that it will take the analyst anywhere between a day or two days to create the comparable company snapshot report. That’s with technology, that’s like the level of effort that technology at its pure form will save. And I’m not sure that the researcher will even be come up with every little detail that technology founds.

I’ll tell you a little story that demonstrates what I’m talking about. One of our main customers is the London Stock Exchange. The London Stock Exchange is operated a platform which is called Elite Growth. And Elite Growth is an aggregator of a thousand private companies now they grow actually pretty rapidly, but it’s a thousand companies which share an ambition of someday going public. They, as the London Stock Exchange, obviously they have a lot of reputation of this and they need to pick and understand who the companies that they want to put on their platform are, which means they have to analyze those companies along various types of steps of the road to an IPO. We were able, when they tested us for the first time, they gave us three different batches of 25 companies. And we were able within days to point out three companies that should not belong there because they had some problems that they either not shared with the London Stock Exchange or have not shared to the degree which the London Stock Exchange could fully comprehend. And this was done with the blessing of technology because those things like legal problems or competition that were not mentioned were hidden so deep in a different language in a different country, sometimes in a way which is very, very not accessible at all to even the smart analysts. So we’ve created a new opportunity that was simply not there.

So that coupled with the fact that you can actually cover a thousand companies, an amount of companies that no reasonable analyst can cover in less than half a year, and the fact that we actually create the consistence type form in a consistent look and feel, only knows just made their lives so much simpler. So they chose to partner with us. And I think we need to look at the value of the combination of all of these factors and not necessarily as the replacement of the analysts’ physical research time.

Will Bachman:               Talk to me about some of your other customers, and sort of what sort of users have been adopting the tool.

Aner Ravon:                  So we have a pretty nice range of customers. Many of our customers are angel investors or individuals or just small family offices who occasionally look at companies. I think the main benefit that they get from us is that they usually do not have an analyst team, and companies that they need come from various and diverse backgrounds, so it’s very difficult for them to maneuver between those leashes and markets and sectors, and always get a consistent analysis. So they’ve been using us pretty regularly.

We have venture capital firms who have taken us to assist their analysis teams. They have analysts, but those analysts actually start with our reports in the screening point. Microsoft is a customer, Microsoft is using us for two purposes. One is to assist their Microsoft Ventures arm, where we provide snapshots and deeper reports, which I will go to in a minute, alongside their deal flow process, the regular deal flow process. And the second department in Microsoft that is using us is Microsoft ScaleUp, which is the Microsoft accelerator. We help them prepare the companies for the companies that they’re considering as candidates for their accelerators. We help them screen and analyze those companies. And then we go to private equity firms such as [inaudible 00:22:01] and the London Stock Exchange.

So we try to assist the needs-flow process for everyone. We have an ambition of becoming the standard for company analysis. And becoming a standard for company analysis means that A, you’re not trying to replace anyone or steal anyone’s job. You want to help and assist and make everybody’s success better. But in addition to that, you also have to sit pretty much a very wide range of potential users who have the deal flow process in mind.

Will Bachman:               Yeah, I guess I’d echo that from my perspective, I think every researcher or independent professional or consultant need to always be thinking about, “Are there things that we can be doing with our time that are higher value?” So if you can find a tool that’s going to take 24 hours worth of labor or eight hours of labor and kind of eliminate that, rather than it’s not so much replacing that researcher’s job. But saying, “Okay, now instead of going and checking Glassdoor and counting employees on LinkedIn, you can spend that time thinking and interviewing people or doing higher order reflection rather than just basic fact-gathering.” Is kind of how I think about it.

One question for you is in terms of, so the type of company that someone should think about getting a snapshot for, let me say something and you tell me if you disagree or if you’d refine it. Seems like you don’t wanna use Zirra for a large public company, or maybe it’s not the best use of it where you could probably just go to Wikipedia or their annual report or something and find out a lot of the details. It seems like it’s best for younger, smaller companies that maybe have one or two key products in some revenue range that are big enough that they actually have a website and have a presence online. Otherwise, your tool’s gonna have a hard time finding out about them. But they’re not so big that they have 5 billion in revenue and multiple geographies and multiple product lines and multiple business units, where it seems like the tool isn’t optimized for it. Is that fair to say, that the ideal company would be, I don’t know, five to a hundred million in revenue, or challenge that, or refine what I just said.

Aner Ravon:                  No, I think you nailed it. I think you’re pretty accurate with how you described it. I would cut off the two ends [inaudible 00:24:37]. I think if these are two founders in a garage thinking about an idea, then I’m not sure that Zirra would be the optimal tool to assist them. It’s not that we cannot provide additional value, and it’s not that we cannot look at, for example, competitors and analyze competitors or to help them shape their own advantage, but that would be a niche use of the tool and not the mainstream use of the tool. And on the other hand, if you’re looking at Spotify about to go public, should you use Zirra to make a decision about investing, I’m not sure that we would be the one to- If you had to select one, I’m not sure that I would select Zirra as that tool.

And that being said, we have been asked to provide the use of snaps and Spotify and everything’s fine, but the main value or where there is a clear void is exactly where you mentioned. It’s with the company that our outtake post see they that are five million to a hundred million dollars in revenue, where information is very scarce. I mean, it is available, but generating the insights from the information is not very trivial because it hasn’t been covered by a hundred different analysts who issued public statements about them. And fortunately or unfortunately, this range is where most of the market is. This is where venture capitalist firms need to back those companies, this is where banks are asked to give them credit. This is where a lot of corp dev activity’s being done, a lot of M&A being considered. It is exactly with those kind of companies who are not covered by the Wall Street Journal on one hand or are not yet embryonic on the other.

Will Bachman:               Alright, cool, so before we go on to kind of the add-on-type services that you can provide, it seems like you have a pretty transparent pricing schedule. Can you talk a little about that, about how much one snapshot would cost, or what the volume discounts look like?

Aner Ravon:                  Right. So first of all, we had to make a decision, one of the key decisions that we made is to not go through the subscription, to the monthly subscription route. A lot of companies like PitchBook or Civic Insights, which are the usual companies that analysts mention when we talk to them a lot, Xerox. One of the main drawbacks that we found was the fact that they force you to use a very expensive monthly subscription. We think that this work is usually seasonal, and unless you’re a big corporation like Microsoft, it’s not necessarily going to make sense for you to subscribe to three grand, four grand a month just to wait for access. And that is before we look at the average advantage that we provide.

So we opted for a credit-based pricing, and we offer a simple matrix of volume and depth where you can choose how to use our platform. And I would say that a snapshot report, the one that I just mentioned, can start in the $200 price, which is the very low credit-plan, and can be discounted all the way to $80 per report if you go for a large volume. And if you look at a deal flow, a deal flow funnel of, let’s say, a hundred companies and end up with three or four deals, we try to fit that process, to fit the pricing to match a very economic gain for you as a customer based on that. So if you’re using our credit, if you go through our process where you look at ten companies concurrently, then it’ll make sense for you, and if you go through two more months where you’re not looking at any company because, I don’t know, because July and August are not the best months for investment, then that’s fine. You’re gonna waste credits, and you’re not gonna pay a subscription for a void.

Will Bachman:               Awesome. Okay, that’s cool. And I’ll say that I’ve used the service and I would use it again even at a low volume, you know, $200 for a snapshot if you’re starting research on a company, it’s gonna save you several hours and it’s a pretty nice kind of way to quickly get started and pull in a bunch of information for a consulting project at least. Let’s talk about the add-ons. So you also offer two things as far as I can tell, they’re surveys and you also would offer some expert interviews. Let’s talk about the surveys. Tell me kind of how that works.

Aner Ravon:                  Yeah, so we talked a lot about screening until now. But many of our customers then move on to [inaudible 00:29:33], to the later parts of [inaudible 00:29:36] process. And usually there are two things which investors find difficult to conclude about. And the first one is the difference between the data and how industry experts really think about the company and about the market and about the potential and about the real challenges that the company’s going to face. And the second one is what is the real market acceptance, not only for the company and product, but for the future ambitions of the company?

So we created two partnership programs. The first one is with expert networks and with consultants. We currently have about 400 experts who are on our platform, expert [inaudible 00:30:23], so to speak. And we offer an additional component of the report which is called expert opinion. We approach experts, we send them a tailored questionnaire. Sometimes we go through phone interviews, it really depends on the subject, but the majority of the times, it’s through a survey questionnaire. And then we donate on their behalf to a charity of their choice. What we found was that many experts really loved the idea of getting these donations in their name to a charity of their choice. It often helps a lot of people who are not normally in the expert or the consulting practice who actually contribute to this process without re-arranging their tax structure. And it gets a very good acceptance rate.

Will Bachman:               That’s fascinating. So you found that actually it worked better to say, “I’ll give…” I don’t know how much you give, like, “I’ll give X dollars to a charity,” instead of “I’ll give X dollars to you.” People are more motivated and more likely to participate if you said, “I’ll give it to a charity that you designate.”

Aner Ravon:                  Absolutely. Absolutely. We normally allocate 30% of the budget, like, 30% of the report revenue to the experts, so the amount that we are able to contribute or donate is sort of a derivative of that. That’s why I’m not putting out just specific numbers. And yeah, the question you are getting, let’s say that now we’re going to interview you about a company. You’re gonna get a questionnaire, you’re gonna get the snapshot report so you can actually comment about snapshot reports and about specifics in the snapshot report. As a part of that questionnaire, you’re gonna fill out who you want the donation to be made out to, and within no more than 14 days, you’re gonna get a certificate of donation in your name which you can look at and be happy and see how you’ve done something good with your time. It takes 15 to 30 minutes at the most per expert usually because of the structure and the reports. The structure of the report and the structure of the questionnaire, and we see at the end of this, what we get from our customers is that is gives them a lot of value.

Now, keep in mind that for private equity firms or for venture capital firms who consider investing in a company, when they approach an expert and ask for their advice, usually the expert advice is very, very biased. The expert wants to continue to work with that venture capital firm, and there’s a lot of potential bias involved. I’m not saying that it’s always biased, but there is potential for bias. We mask the customer name, we mask everything that can potentially bias the experts, and what we do ask is whether the expert wishes to be exposed to the customer for potential future interaction, and if they say yes, then we make an introduction and we step out. We’re not going to now facilitate an ongoing relationship, and we don’t want to be in that position. And in some cases where those experts are actually people who used to work for the companies and don’t feel comfortable being exposed, then we keep their privacy and we let them just provide their anonymous consultation without any exposure.

Will Bachman:               Okay, got it. And roughly, can you talk about the pricing and what someone would expect to see if they decide to opt to add on kind of expert interviews?

Aner Ravon:                  Yeah, so the expert interviews would add obviously a slightly more significant cost. It’s still gonna be a lot cheaper than any other alternative. A report with expert reviews would go anywhere from $800 maybe to $2000, that would be the range depending on volume and on specific requests. What we’ll specifically see is the process where you ask for, say, five snapshots, about five different companies to make progress with one of them, you wanna step in and add the expert report, and then it goes from 200 to another $600 so you can actually get the expert reports embedded. So again, if it matches your own usage and growth pace and specifics.

You mentioned surveys. Survey is sort of a similar but different component. It is best used for companies who are more consumer-centric and actually have- It’s not for cyber security firms, for [inaudible 00:34:59] cyber security firms. We’re not going to get into all the surveying about that. But companies, for example, who are planning to launch a product or see an advantage in their model, in their pricing model, and we have some doubts, or their investors may have some questions about how the market would accept those new business or pricing models, we run through panel partners who run surveys, and we integrate those survey results again into the report. Unfortunately, or fortunately, we have to pay for those panels. So this adds another comparable, I would say, add-on pricing for the report, again, depending on volume, anywhere between 800 or 600 dollars to $2000 per report. If you’re a large-volume subscriber, it’s going to be closer to the 800. If you’re just purchasing the single report, it’s probably gonna be anywhere between 1000 to 2000 dollars.

Will Bachman:               And if someone wants- So on the expert interviews, could the buyer of the report specify what questions they want answered, or is it just, like, “I want a snapshot on company XYZ and an expert interview,” and, you know, the questions are on any topic that your team comes up or would I, the buyer, get to say, “Hey, ask these three questions because that’s what’s on my mind”?

Aner Ravon:                  You can definitely mention the questions that you have in mind. As a matter of fact, we’re going to launch soon a version where you can actually add those questions to the snapshot report and we will add an additional price point, which is still gonna be very economic, which will sort of be like a snapshot report plus questions. We do appreciate the fact that you’re asking for the report because you need to have some answers, you want to answer those specific questions. In some cases, we saw that the customers wish to know about a specific geography, about a specific competitor, about a specific challenge. It helps us allocate then find the right experts for you and ask the right questions. It even helps us from a researcher perspective, from our own research perspective, to actually look at the right data and sometimes you can fine-tune the machine to go ahead and search specific questions about specific problems. So we definitely encourage it, it’s definitely something that we welcome, and from the roadmap perspective, we see ourselves being more and more adapted to those specifics because we feel it’s almost rudimentary in the analysis process.

Will Bachman:               Great. And I imagine the same thing’s with the survey. So, I as the buyer could say, “Hey, I’d like a survey, and here’s the questions I’d like asked.”

Aner Ravon:                  Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Will Bachman:               Alright. I guess one question is sort of thinking, you talked about roadmap over the next few years, seems to me that this kind of automated research is something that’s going to just continue to develop pretty rapidly, and everybody has to keep raising their game. I mean, independent professionals using services have to raise their game, and I can imagine that what you’re doing now sort of two years from now, three years from now, there’ll be a lot of people doing, and you’re probably thinking ahead about, “Okay, what do I need to do that’s gonna be super compelling two or three years from now?” Can you share any of that future thinking about how you see this space evolving, and what tools like this might look like two, three, four, years from now?

Aner Ravon:                  Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So three, four years from now is a little different, but I’ll try. There are few very basic needs that we identified which we think can help drive the market a lot. One is the main problems of reports today is that they have been usually dead on arrival. You know, you buy a report, the moment you get this report, the report is dead. And then if there are new developments in the company, you’re sort of not up to date anymore.

So we’re gonna launch very soon a variety of features which tackle that problem. The first one will keep your report always updated. You’re going to get alerts for changes in the report, for major changes in the report. Not this word change or this word change, but we classify 12 different events which we believe require your attention, like executive turnover or a new product launch or a new competitor or a new funding realm. These events we will practically send you together with the link to the updated report, so you can continue to keep updated.

We’re adding collaboration features. So you can actually annotate your report and then share it with your notes. So, for example, if you disagree with something we wrote or if you think something we wrote or something that you got from the report requires more attention, you’re gonna be able to actually highlight that, put a little note, and share it with your colleague.

We feel that these are main drivers to automation, or to at least assisting with automation. That is a slow process. And then there are a lot of areas which are just pure research. What can you get, there are tons of interesting insights hidden in a lot of repositories, in Wikipedia, for example. Changes in Wikipedia items, the amount that is being invested in editing Wikipedia items. Google Scholar is a great source of information that once automatically cracked can actually provide a lot of insights which are not easy to discover. So editing sources and [inaudible 00:40:56] sources is definitely another very interesting direction.

And the third direction I guess from that we’re thinking about schematically from the roadmap perspective is access and service. Chat box, interaction with chat box, the ability to simply ask a very specific question about a company instead of asking the report, and what are the best ways to interact with a self-serving system. All of these are areas where we believe progress, that we’re gonna see a lot of progress and a lot of integration with existing platforms for the purpose of just extending automatic analysis and making it more naturally accessible and the more natural state to your day-to-day analysis process.

Will Bachman:               That’s very cool. Aner, maybe before we wrap here, you could share with listeners just if someone wanted to get started and try out the service, do you kind of do a one trial report or what’s the best way- You wanna talk about your website and how someone could actually get started-

Aner Ravon:                  Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So the easiest way is to go to www.zirra.com. That’s our website. On our website, you can either interact with our chat box on the bottom right, or you can go to the pricing page and in the pricing page, you will find the form that you can just fill out. Now I promise you that if you mention your podcast as the reason that you are coming to our website, we’re gonna give you a very nice discount. Free for the first report. In the comments, in the description, mention whatever it is you wanna know. I heard about this here, I’m curious, I wanna know if you cover whatever. I’m personally, this is one of the things from our culture, that we never compromise, I personally review each and every potential customer with questions because it helps me learn. I think you know this if you call. When you first called me, I picked up the phone in the middle of a company event, so it’s something which I find extremely important in order to really help serve and understand what our customers really need. So going to www.zirra.com either going to the interactive chat box on the bottom right or going to the pricing page and sending out a form, we reach to you personally, we form a personal attention, and I will be very happy to accommodate your podcast listeners.

Will Bachman:               That is awesome, and I will definitely attest to that. So I called Aner a few weeks ago, I think it was three or four weeks ago, and I called the company and Aner himself, the CRO, picks up the phone and says, “Hey, we got some company event.” I don’t know if you guys were having a party or whatever, but, “Tell me what you need and we’ll get it to you by tomorrow.” So that was pretty awesome, I gotta say.

Awesome, so thank you. So thanks for offering that discount to listeners of Unleashed, and definitely I think a tool that you certainly should check out, try it at least once to see if it’s gonna fit into your practice. It can definitely save a lot of time. Aner, really exciting what you guys are doing and building a really cool tool-

Aner Ravon:                  Thank you.

Will Bachman:               And the roadmap sounds like you have a lot of great work on your plate. Thank you so much for joining.

Aner Ravon:                  Thank you. Thank you for hosting me.


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