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Thrive is set up by Funding London, a venture capital company bridging the finance gap for early stage businesses based in London. With over a decade’s experience in supporting the startups of London through a variety of funding vehicles, Funding London sensed a need to illuminate the ever-evolving scenario of London’s early stage businesses.

Thrive features interviews with and opinion from budding entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts. A mix of contributors from all areas of the industry is desired in order to spark genuine discussion about ongoing critical issues. While it showcases the effectiveness of successful ventures, it also encourages sharing lessons learned from missteps and unsuccessful projects.

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Early Stage Market · 4 March '19

Why we should employ our data from day one

Imagine you are prepping for an exam. You have a book which contains all the answers, however, it’s out of order and unreadable; it needs translating into a structured format to understand the solutions. You own the book. Do you seek out someone to translate the book, pass the exam, move forward and gain a competitive edge? Or do you take multiple stabs in the dark, hope for the best, all whilst in ownership of the solution.

This is where many industries find themselves, still sat on the sidelines, watching a young sector grow into its adolescence with somewhat passive indifference. Whilst this may be normative right now, fast forward a few years, and it’s likely data science in some capacity will be a prerequisite in a way that a website is an essential component of business.

Whilst there is some warranted suspicion in the wake of scandals such as the Cambridge Analytica saga, consumers have transgressed to a market where data drives their decision making. Many people will consult review scores before purchasing an item or visiting a restaurant. Many are comfortable or dependant on subscription-based models for recommending new content and products explicitly based on their historical behaviour. The novelty of the personalised path has not worn thin, rather, the appetite for it is growing.

The exploration and optimisation of data allows businesses to personalise not just the product, but the way in which it is marketed, why, and when too.

AI is growing up also. Replacing tedious and repetitive tasks and replicating them in a method more superior than human counterparts was once seen as the extent of its limitations, whereas now it has the ability to inform strategic thinking, creative concepts, and other subjective elements.

It is important to remember that the algorithms powering it should be fine-tuned to meet the specific requirements of the business. Keeping humans in the loop is imperative, and it’s why the technology will always need people to ensure it works efficiently. AI has often picked up on our human biases and logical fallacies from the data we supply – that’s why it’s crucial to have humans qualifying the input. The data is the diet plan to the gym schedule.

Some feel it is not yet the right time for them to look at their data. The catalyst varies from the actions of their competitors, to eleventh hour gambits. Imagine doing so at the outset, it’s the closest we can touch upon clairvoyance; a detailed exposure into the methodology we should pursue to land our ambitions.

I regularly promote new and existing products to highly-targeted audiences. I have found that the data offers critical insight into the effectiveness and potential shortcomings of any marketing, almost from the outset. This allows me to make iterative changes to ensure we do not waste time and resources, optimising the success of a campaign.

If we can know the mistakes we make on day one of our business, we should and would want to know on that same day. So many companies point the finger at the catalyst for their downfall far too late. They look at the data and shriek at what they wish they could’ve known. Data can be your most valuable employee; don’t delay its start date.