From Business Research to Research Software

Conatix started as a consulting firm. Companies used to ask us to help solve a problem that was important to them, to forecast a market or to find some information and wrap it into a report. Like many consulting firms, we spent a lot of time writing those reports. We started to wonder if it might be useful to develop our own databases tracking certain new industries and financial flows of interest to our clients. Then we realized that researching and building detailed databases takes a lot of time and work too. Having been in this business for a couple of decades, we started asking if there might be a way to automate some of the things that a business researcher does. We began networking and talking to people in business and technology and looking at business research from a new perspective: what if it were being invented now, today?

We began putting together the technologies that could help us to automate as many different steps of the business research process as possible. We developed novel and innovative approaches, particularly around finding and classifying documents and webpages related to a given research topic. We designed an interface that could organize the work of not only one researcher, but an entire research team.

We still thought that we would use our system internally to produce data and information faster than conventional (manual) business researchers could, and that we would then sell the information and data. We began talking to companies that purchase research about the databases we planned to develop, and about the secret sauce technology we planned to power our company in the background. The response was interest in the data, but even greater interest in the technology. Companies in finance, investment research, consulting told us that yes, they always need data, but they were more interested in finding out if our technology could help them with their own research.

We realized that our online semi-automated system for conducting research could meet an immediate need in the market, because not only consultants but also a wide range of companies and organizations faced the same problems in organizing and managing the external research that their business requires them to do. The Conatix knowledge management as a service (KaaS) system was born.