Startups succeed or fail based on a variety of factors, many of them complex, and their ultimate fate is notoriously difficult to foresee. But a new Israeli startup has come up with a way to give investors insights that will up their chances of finding a winner.
Tel Aviv-based Zirra has developed artificial intelligence and machine learning technology that analyzes relevant variables for startups and private tech companies, for example: how much the companies are valued at; who their competitors are; what their estimated time to exit could be — as IPO or sale; and other risk and success factors, as well as rating the team, product, momentum, and execution.
“We created an engine that, thanks to algorithms, is able in an automatic way and in less than a minute to give a deep insight of the analyzed company,” Zirra CEO Moshit Yaffe said in a phone interview.
The company said Monday it had raised $1.6 million in a funding round led by a group of former Microsoft executives such as Moshe Lichtman, a former VP at Microsoft and now a general partner at IGP, a private investment equity firm, and Soma Somasegar, formerly the corporate VP of the Developer Division at Microsoft Corporation and now a partner at venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group. The funding brings Zirra’s valuation to $6 million, Zirra said in a statement.
Zirra’s first engine was created analyzing 1,200 companies from around and their histories to understand how they became successful and why — or how and why they failed. The engine doesn’t access the companies’ private data, but analyzes only public domain data, like the number of employees, the number of founders, the number of competitors and the fundraising velocity.
“Other companies provide the same service, but they only collect a lot of data. Instead, we give our clients a complete insight,” said Yaffe.
“We also provide experts able to analyze the data we collect through the engine. At Zirra we offer a combination between supporting technology and analysts because machines can’t do the entire job alone. Same thing with humans,” said Yaffe.
Zirra was founded in 2014 by Aner Ravon and Yaffe. Today the engine has data collected from more than 100,000 companies, and uses public sources like articles or blogs, media momentum and gaps between financial rounds to help its analysis.
The AI technology is then matched with insights taken from a network of experts, who also provide Zirra with inside information about the market. The network consists of experts in multiple areas of the tech market, such as enterprise software, cybersecurity, Big Data, cloud, robotics, automotive, ad tech, social networks, and biomed. In exchange for their input, Zirra contributes money to a charity of their choice.
The engine can analyze huge companies like Snapchat or Uber, but it is not yet able to establish the success or failure of a startup or brand-new business that doesn’t have any analyzable information.
The company has “several dozens” of institutional clients in Israel and the US, it said.
“We dream of becoming the world leader in our sector, but we don’t want to replace analysts with our engine. We just want to make lives easier,” said Yaffe.