Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bloomberg's Attempt to Use Data to Predict Who The Next Generation of Tech Founders Will Be

From Pando Daily:
Can data predict a future founder?

That’s the question that Bloomberg Beta and Mattermark set out to answer in June, driven by the desire of Bloomberg’s new venture capital arm to develop relationships with these future belles of the ball.
“Part of it was driven by my own personal experience,” says Bloomberg Beta head Roy Bahat. “No one wants to talk to you until suddenly everyone wants to talk to you. It’s nice to get to know people before we want anything from them or they want anything from us.

Leave it to Mattermark, a company that analyzes data like LinkedIn profiles and tweets to deduce startup performing, to take on the seemingly impossible the task of identifying these future founders. It started by modeling out a couple hundred well-known venture-backed founders, the “whales” and the “unicorns” according to Mattermark co-founder Danielle Morrill. Morrill created a database listing attributes of these people like their age, college education, what job titles they’ve held, and where they worked before, and if they have experience working on a venture-backed startup.

The company analyzed the trends in this data set, and compared the findings against a pool 1.5 million people currently working in tech. Mattermark initially came up with a list of 70,000 potential future founders, and then further narrowed it down to the 350 most likely to take the plunge and start their own companies.
Morrill claims that these people are 25-times more likely than a random individual working in tech to one day found their own companies.

Here’s where it gets weird: Today, Bloomberg Beta emailed these 350 people — none of whom have ever founded a company before — to say, basically, “Hey we think there’s a good likelihood you might found a company in the future. So, we want to meet you and invite you to a selective year long series of networking events.”

Ah, to be a fly on one of those 350 people’s computer screens.

Bloomberg Beta wouldn’t release the names of the chosen ones, given that these people had no idea they were being compiled into a master list....MORE