[Interview] Yseop’s revolutionary approach to turning data into intelligent text

Aug 18, 2014
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Throughout the July / August vacation period, the Rude Baguette will be running a series of interviews with some of France’s top and rising startups, where their founders give us more insight into their business, their future plans and what sets them apart from the rest. In our first installment we talk with CEO of Yseop, John Rauscher, who discusses how their next-generation AI enterprise solution enables companies to boost performance via writing automation and share with us their plans to revolutionize the question/answer approach on the Internet

SONY DSCFor those readers who don’t know Yseop, tell us about what you do and how the idea to start Yseop came about?

Yseop is enterprise software based on Artificial Intelligence that automatically writes intelligent and non-repetitive text, in English, French and a variety of other languages, just like a human being, but at a speed of over a thousand pages per second. The idea comes from Alain Kaeser, Yseop founder and former student then teacher at ENS Cachan. He was the first guy to understand that speaking and writing require first to reason. And he and his team worked more than ten years to make his idea a software that works.

How does it work exactly?

To better answer your question, we need first to explain that the linguistic market is comprised of two distinct markets: (1) NLU (Natural Language Understanding – previously named NLP, Natural Language Processing) and (2) NLG (Natural Language Generation). One thousand software vendors compete in the NLU market. Siri on your iPhone is one of them. Yseop technology belongs to the NLG market with four known competitors in the world only. NLG is so complicated that it requires long years of development before releasing a workable solution. This explains why there are a limited number of players. Yseop is unique because the software reasons on data and explains the reasoning in natural language (in writing or through voice). To make it simple, BI/Analytics software turns data into dashboards. Yseop turns data into written comments and recommendations that everybody can understand.

How do you manage to add a human touch to an artificial intelligence solution?

You can find two types of written documents: The first ones are editorials or opinions and stem from creativity. Only humans can do it. The second type (90% of business needs) is content based on reasoning on facts, i.e.data. This part belongs to what Yseop and NLG software aim to automate. Moreover, Yseop is the only software in that category that can stop a reasoning to question with a user to ask for feedback intelligently. The goal of our robot is not to replace human beings but to improve their efficiency and remove the repetitive tasks that nobody wants to do such as writing reports.

Do you find that there are any sectors to which use of Yseop’s solutions, and artificial intelligence enterprise software more generally, is particularly well suited and why?

There are three main sectors that embrace our technology quickly:

  1. Companies that produce a lot reports or those who use business intelligence software to generate dashboards that 90% of their users to not understand very well. With Yseop, they generate comments of their dashboards and conclusions in plain English (or French, Spanish, German etc) automatically. This is also a powerful solution used by Microsoft Excel users who play with a lot of spreadsheets.
  2. Our 2nd largest market is sales organizations. Half of the workload of a sales person is admin work such as prep-to-meetings, visit reports, thank you emails to customers, proposals etc. Yseop automates this work and help sales people to be more efficient and focus their energy on customers’ interactions, not producing writing documents. Our largest customer in production has 12.500 users on a daily basis using Yseop for helping sales people. Both management and the sales teams love Yseop
  3. Yseop also provides a new approach of search on Internet through expert guidance. Yseop reproduces the same type of exchange that takes place between a customer and a sales person in a retail store or on the phone, but at no marginal cost. Yseop effectively “searches” for the product or service best suited to the user’s needs and explains WHY and HOW the selected product meets his or her needs. Customers like Boursorama Banque, L’Oreal USA or Aramis-Auto use Yseop for this type of solution.

I understand that you currently can generate text in English, German, Spanish and French and will soon be expanding into Portuguese, Chinese and Japanese. Tell me a bit about how challenging it is to add new languages to your solutions.

We are the only software in the NLG market not only to support different languages out of the box but also to provide a configuration tool that allows our customers to configure any types of reports on their own. It is as easy as Excel actually. So the challenge of adding a new language is to provide a software that manages another grammar without making Yseop configuration tool more complex. We work through examples to achieve this goal.

With offices across Europe, the US and South America, you clearly have a highly global operations. Which markets are you looking to expand to next and why? What’s next for Yseop more generally?

Our next market will be Asia. I have done it in the past and I know succeeding over there is a tough cookie. It takes time. But as soon as Chinese and Japanese grammar will be fully tested at Yseop, we will open a subsidiary in Asia and look for a distributor in Japan. But more generally, our goal is to democratize expertise for the B2C market, I mean provide a robot that helps anybody get a personalized answer to his or her question. We will make an important announcement in October along with releasing the first live application on the Internet that a partner has developed based on our technology. Everybody will be able to use it and understand how Yseop will revolutionize the question/answer approach on the Internet.

 

Yseop will also be recruiting at our upcoming Paris Startup Job Fair at the CentQuatre on September 13th.  So if you’re looking to make your next career move, make sure to sign-up today!

Startups and other high-growth tech companies, if you’re looking to expand your team, make sure to fill-out this form and we’ll get back to you asap!