Lexalytics Looking Strong as Text Analytics Heats Up for Big Companies, Mobile

7/31/12Follow @gthuang

I wish I could say Lexalytics has analyzed the entirety of the world’s social-media and Web conversations, and deemed it all worthless. Alas.

“That’s not our role,” says Jeff Catlin, the company’s CEO.

Nevertheless it’s a good time to check in with Lexalytics, the Boston- and Amherst, MA-based text analysis company whose technology seeks to understand the meaning and sentiment of conversations on the Web.

In recent years, text and sentiment analysis has graduated from a niche technology used for social-media monitoring and customer relationship management, to a more mainstream feature used by a lot of big companies for business intelligence and other applications. And mobile is the next frontier (see below).

Lexalytics spun out of LightSpeed Software in 2003—to avoid getting shut down—and has grown to become a profitable business, with annual revenue growth of 30 to 50 percent over the past few years, Catlin says. The company has about 20 employees and now counts Oracle and Microsoft among its big customers. Lexalytics sells its software mostly to companies that use its technology under the hood to help other companies and brands understand what people and customers are talking about online.

The technology currently works for English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and German, and the company has started working on Chinese. (Interestingly, Catlin says software for Japanese didn’t pan out, because the writing style of the culture requires a lot of contextual interpretation by the reader, and Web writers don’t express a lot of sentiment.)

Last year, Lexalytics also helped spin out a company called … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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