In this week’s Community Feature, we speak to Wang Chao, CTO of 6Estates, a startup that is helping companies make more informed decisions using actionable insights.
What does 6Estates do?
6Estates is a spin-off company from the NExT++ research programme. It’s a programme from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Tsinghua University. We develop state-of-the-art AI technology encompassing Natural Language Processing, Deep Learning, and Knowledge Graph to deliver real-time, actionable insights to businesses to enable smarter decision making, with a focus on Market Intelligence (MI) and Finance Intelligence (FI).
What I do here
Who are 6Estates customers?
Most of our customers are brand owners. These brands want to know user feedback for their products or brand innovations. They want to know who their competitors are and we do a lot of different types of analysis for them. They provide their internal data and we combine this with our external data, group them together to perform joint analysis.
How big is your team? Are they all located in Singapore?
Most of our team are located in Singapore. In total, we have 30 people. We also have a small team in China because our big data team is located in China. We crawl a lot of different data source from the world so we have different cloud distribution in China, Singapore and in other countries but most of us are located in Singapore.
How do you collaborate with Tsinghua University?
We have a lot of collaboration and association with the Tsinghua and NUS team because our CEO, Luan Huanbo, is a post-doctorate in the NExT++ research programme. Also when I was a P.H.D student visiting NUS, we will have communication and collaboration with a lot of laboratories in Tsinghua and in NUS. They provided us with a lot of algorithms. We implement these algorithms and test them to see whether if they work in industrial usage.
How did you commercialise the technology from NUS?
For most of the laboratories we collaborated with, it’s for Natural Language Processing (NLP) domain and our company is mostly focused on that. This domain is very broad, meaning that there are a lot of different research topics covering this, so we select and found some different key technologies. For example, the explainable recommendation. This is a specialised technology from one of NUS’ laboratories. Information extraction is one of the key technologies from Tsinghua’s laboratories. Another is the Sentiment Analysis, another key technology from there. We track all these different technologies and try to merge them into our data analysis. After we collect the results from the different technologies, our consumer marketing insights team forms them to provide an in-depth report for our customers.
Was it difficult to get your first customer?
It was quite difficult. There are two major challenges. The first one is that for most of NLP technology, the machine cannot reach the expectations of human beings. We need to know what the machines can or cannot do and we need to use the machine to get more in-depth insights and the domain knowledge from experts then combine them together to form a report.
The second challenge is that the NLP domain evolves very fast. It means that in each different topic, at least tens of different algorithms and models are proposed every year. We
Where is 6estates now and what’s next for the company?
What we are doing now is to commercialise our latest product, MIKA (Marketing Innovation and Knowledge Advisor). It is a standard package for our customer. It is the first in the industry to combine the brand communication, sales data and user reviews information to build an explainable recommendation system. This is a product that can tell the brand owners the trend of the market, the competitors, the influence of your target product and the most important aspect of your product. That is what we are doing now and we are going to push this product into the market.
How can we help you?
Yes. We collaborated with BLOCK71 to do a CS seminar. CS Seminar is an initiative by 6Estates to facilitate the sharing of technical knowledge by academics and industry experts, to promote AI & Computer Science community in Singapore. I think that is a very good try because we have a lot of university resources, we have a lot of collaborations with different professors and research scientists. We also have some collaboration with the industry. What we want to do is to build a community with BLOCK71 to let the industry people know about the updates on research outcomes and to let the academic people know the demand and the most important focus for industry usage. We can also let more technical people know about our company and maybe have more computer science talents joining 6Estates.
Adapted by Jun Kang – Creator of content for the Hangar at NUS Enterprise.
Watch the full video interview with Wang Chao from 6Estates here:
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