2019 was a year marked by growth and energy at Text IQ. We expanded our offerings, raised capital, grew our team, launched a new office, and defined our core values — throughout we focused on doing the important work of harnessing the power of AI to help our customers find and protect sensitive information.
Here’s a quick glance at how our year shaped up.
We Raised $12.6 million in Series A Funding
Text IQ launched in 2014 with a different mindset than the typical AI startup. Before writing a single line of code, we interviewed hundreds of people dealing with unstructured data, to learn from them what “hair on fire” issues we could solve. By pinpointing a few well-defined problems we could directly address with a clear 10x improvement over the status quo, we became profitable in our first quarter of entering the market.
Our success continued into 2019, as we gained $12.6 million in Series A funding led by FirstMark Capital with participation from Sierra Ventures and other top VC firms as well as Fortune 500 executives. The success of our organic growth has paved the way for an accelerated expansion enabled by this latest round of funding.
We are excited to make the most of the opportunities before us and look forward to what Text IQ will accomplish in 2020.
We Transformed Our Business Model
After seeing 100 percent repeat business from our customers, we reconfigured how we do business. Before, we dealt exclusively in project-based contracts. Last year, we found a better way to serve our customers through a subscription model.
Not only do subscriptions ensure clients have access to Text IQ’s software when disaster strikes — be it a data breach, a government request for information, or compliance issue — but having a functional Text IQ running can help identify emerging risks before they get out of hand.
As Randal Milch, former Verizon general counsel and Text IQ board member, explains: “It’s great to have Text IQ after your crisis. It’s much better to have Text IQ before your crisis.”
With our subscription system, Text IQ has moved beyond a specific solution. Given the way our machine learning models work, every time one group in a company uses Text IQ, it becomes a more powerful tool for everyone across the enterprise.
We Expanded Our Team
Over the last year, the Text IQ team has grown by 300 percent! Our new teammates include key hires in the management layer.
Ian Holmes, Vice President of Finance, joined Text IQ following three years as Director of Financial Planning and Analysis at SiriusDecisions. Prior to that, he served as an investment banking principal at Centerview Partners. A graduate of Lehigh University and Columbia Business School, Ian brings more than 10 years’ experience analyzing and guiding financial decisions.
Karan Kunjur, Head of Growth, leads Text IQ’s go-to-market and operational execution activities, focusing on developing the best end-to-end journey for customers. Prior to joining us, Karan spent 10 years with The Boston Consulting Group, where he advised Fortune 100 clients on how to respond to — and take advantage of — disruption in the tech space.
Philip Chan, Vice President of Engineering, joined Text IQ from GE Digital, where he served as Director of Cloud Operations. A 20-year veteran of the software industry with more than a decade in management roles, Philip has a rare depth of technical, business, and leadership experience. Prior to joining GE, he worked as Director of Cloud Operations and Director of Engineering Support & Quality Assurance for Bit Stew Systems.
And we’re still growing! If you think your skills could help take Text IQ to the next level, visit our Careers Page.
We Launched an Office in Cork, Ireland
As data privacy challenges mount in the wake of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the world’s toughest standard for data privacy, Text IQ has responded by opening a new office close to our European customers.
Text IQ now serves a large share of Global 2000 companies. With our new office, we can guarantee our European clients that their data never has to leave the EU and that we’re on the ground, ready to address new adjustments to the policy and any wrinkles found in the system.
Not only is Text IQ a truly multinational corporation with offices that now span continents, but our diverse team, with members hailing from 21 different countries around the world, reflects our dedication to harnessing the best global talent to address our customers’ unique needs.
We Hosted The Inevitable: A One-of-a-Kind Conference
The Inevitable is the first conference bringing together top AI researchers and business leaders. Unlike anything happening in business today, this unique combination mirrors the circumstances that led to Text IQ's creation. What started as co-founder and CEO Apoorv Agarwal’s thesis at Columbia University became the kernel idea behind Text IQ, and it was only through our interactions with business leaders that we were able to make the leap from an academic innovation to a business necessity.
When CPOs, CIOs, CISOs, and General Counsels talk with leading academics, solutions become easier to spot. The future gets easier to see. New ideas sprout by the hundreds.
Randal Milch, former General Counsel at Verizon, noted: "It's just a fascinating window into this very complicated issue, and I've not heard of any place you can get this other than The Inevitable."
“We got to hear some cutting-edge AI theorizing, and mixed that with the practical. What does that mean for a company? What does that mean for the legal profession? What does that mean for government? And how should we filter that through our very human instinct to want to do the right thing?” asked Eddie Lazarus, Chief Legal Officer at Sonos.
Last year’s conference featured keynote speeches by:
- Greg Anderson, Data Protection Officer at Lexmark International
- Hen Ji, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Harvey Ashman, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at IQVIA
- Kevin Knight, Dean’s Professor of Computer Science at USC
- Elise Houlik, Vice President and Senior Managing Counsel for Privacy and Data Protection at Mastercard
- And many more
This year’s invite-only conference is scheduled to take place Fall 2020 in New York City. Not only will it again feature the best minds in AI from academia and business, but it comes at a critical time for the industry, as new laws are taking shape around the globe.
As Peter Lefkowitz, Chief Privacy and Digital Risk Officer at Citrix, put it: “We’re just at the beginning. I think what happens in the next 12-18 months is going to affect what we do for the next 10 years. As U.S. law comes online and all the guidance out of Europe comes, as China starts to develop privacy law and privacy practice, I really think the next 18 months are going to be the history of privacy, the way we all practice for the next generation.”
We Changed the Game
In 2019, Text IQ launched the Brain: a next-generation machine-learning platform that builds a working understanding of the unique position titles, terminologies, and organizational structure of your company.
Each Brain grows differently: the more information it receives across an enterprise, the smarter it becomes. It parses company data to discover links between people, contracts, hierarchies, and jargon that aren’t always readily apparent. This way, Text IQ can discover sensitive documents that even thousands of humans can overlook.
As co-founder Omar Haroun explains, “Every company is different. They use different acronyms, have different titles, call projects by different names. No one-size-fits-all solution can catch everything. We build a machine-learning model for each customer that learns how each organization functions, how it uses language, and the relationships between people and departments. Then it can look through that data to identify risks and opportunities for improvement.”
We Defined Our Values
Over the past year, we've reflected on what motivates us as a company and worked to discover the core values that drive us in all aspects of our work. Together with our team, we defined the following values that Text IQ embodies:
The performance of Text IQ is a direct reflection of our team. By building a team of exceptionally-skilled people and promoting an atmosphere of collaboration at all levels, we can ensure the strength of our company through the melding of individual talents. Knowing that ‘we’re all in this together’ contributes to a shared sense of trust and pride in our collective accomplishments.
Customer-Centric at our Core:
Beyond simply prioritizing customer-satisfaction, we regard our customers as partners. Trust and understanding are key to that symbiosis, which we foster by obsessively listening and customizing our technology to their needs. With this dynamic, the successes our customers are able to achieve with the help of our products are our successes as well.
Rather than viewing challenges as obstacles, we perceive opportunities, and this ‘can-do’ attitude is a requisite for all our team members. No matter the task, big or small, we are committed to following through to produce optimal results.
Recognizing that our learning is never done, we are constantly exploring new avenues to innovate and break through perceived boundaries to deliver revolutionary products and data-driven solutions in ways our clients had not previously imagined possible.
Raising the Bar:
Insisting on quality and excellence of our products and services has been a top priority since Text IQ’s inception, and hiring top talent has always been essential to that goal. As we scale and evolve, we must continuously recalibrate and set increasingly higher standards to drive our company forward. Regardless of the level we reach, we will resist complacency and instead strive for continual improvement.