Tuesday, 27 April 2010

And some iPredict kudos

Congrats to Matt and team! From Computerworld:
Among the finalists in the Duncan Cotterill Innovative Software Product Award category is Wellington startup iPredict. The product can be described as a place to buy and sell predictions of future political, economic and social events, according to iPredict CEO Matt Burgess.

The software harnesses the “wisdom of crowds” by offering a way for companies to tune into the thoughts of staff. By getting staff to bet on the success of current or planned projects, managers can see what people really think.

“iPredict is a way to cheaply aggregate and quantify opinions on any factual question,” says Burgess. “We use iPredict to aggregate opinions on politics and economics — who will win the next election, how high will interest get this year, and so on — but almost anything can be asked on iPredict software.”

The software can help companies figure out what combination of features on a particular product will maximise sales. Or you can ask for a prediction whether your largest competitors will merge this year, he says.

Market prices on iPredict emerge from the buying and selling of people, and as such reflects the wisdom of crowds, says Burgess. “That is the special sauce that iPredict uses to beat pollsters in elections and official forecasts in companies,” he says.

The company, which is owned by Victoria University and the Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation, launched in September 2008. The team is now close to rolling out a product where customers can set up their own markets from scratch online in minutes, Burgess says.

Burgess is honoured to be a finalist, he says, and he is hoping that the awards will give the startup exposure.

He sees great opportunities for his company’s technology, both locally and overseas.

“For example, right now there is no forward market in meat and wool commodities in New Zealand. This has real information and hedging costs for farmers, which can be solved with iPredict’s technology in combination with our Securities Commission authorisation to operate these markets,” he claims.

He is aiming to start exporting the technology later this year.

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