4 October 2006

About a year ago we did some work with a London-based private equity fund. The problem was information overload and the idea was to bring together multiple data sources, both public and private, to one data store that could add tags and other meta-data and build synthetic RSS feeds based on search criteria (and even adaptive learning).

It all worked a charm. Research analysts would perform data discovery and tag appropriately. Partners would have automatic feeds delivered from over 1,000 data sources about the things that interested them (including a tag “someone in your team thinks you might want to see this”). The software was based on the Urchin RSS Aggregator, which is now a defunct project, and after living for a while on our servers ran on a PC in their office.

Now I see that InfoNGEN, a US startup, is doing the same thing, probably better, and making a product out of it. I do think that organizing information is one of the major trends for the next ten years or more. It seems to me that successful startups are the ones that make information management really easy for the average user (Google, Flickr,, etc.)

The guys at InfoNGEN seems to have plenty of pixel-polished screenshots and no automated registration process. My guess is that we are looking at the ususal American style startup that is long on marketing materials in plenty of time before they have any working solution. (This, by the way, usually works a lot better than the European approach which is the other way around.) I wish them well: they are trying to solve an important problem.