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Entrepreneurship

 

Accelerator pitch: Joshua Wallace of Cytora

Can you pitch your genius business idea in the time it takes to get from the ground floor to the C-suite? Joshua Wallace, Co-Founder of Cytora, and a recipient of a CJBS Accelerator grant, gives it a go.

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The brains

Joshua Wallace, co-founder, Cytora

The product

Our product is essentially software that collects and analyses a huge amount of online data to perform real-time political risk analysis.

We analyse millions of articles a day from around the world and identify events within those that relate to political risk. We collate and present this information to our users in an easy-to-digest format via an online platform.

The business case

Organisations often want to conduct a high level of business in emerging or complex markets because they offer good growth potential, but they don’t have the equivalent data they would have for more developed markets such as Europe or the US. Our product helps them make better decisions in those markets.

The timing

We founded Cytora in December 2012. The catalyst was the Arab Spring and a realisation that there was now a huge proliferation of online information that could help inform political risk assessment. One of the things it highlighted was that people in official positions were not the type of people you should be asking for risk analysis because they don’t always have a very good understanding of how events unfold. There was a liberalisation of information and it was a case of tapping into that.

The strategy for growth

Bringing in talented people to join the core team has been really useful. We adopted a policy of only hiring people who we would want to work for ourselves, because at its core it’s the people who our drive the business.

The future

We are excited about working with our customers and extending the product, and have just raised a round of finance, led by Paul Forster, a highly successful entrepreneur. Paul will also be joining the board and we are looking forward to working with him while using the capital to expand the team and improve our speed of development. The priority for the next three to five years is to grow as aggressively as possible.

The Accelerator

The grant from Accelerator has allowed us to increase the number of people we’re hiring. But it’s also helped us to refine our proposition and how we’re aligning ourselves with different industries, and has given us a good stack of credibility at the University of Cambridge, which has helped to open particular doors.