Lancaster spin-out celebrates significant growth and launches in US


Dr James Walkerdine and Dr Phil Greenwood
Dr James Walkerdine and Dr Phil Greenwood

A technology spin-out business created to commercialise Lancaster University computer science research is celebrating undergoing significant growth and opening its first offices in the United States.

Relative Insight, based in co-location facilities within Lancaster University’s InfoLab21, uses cutting-edge innovative language analysis software to help companies better understand their customers and audiences by providing insights from various sources such as social media, online product ratings, web page copy and market research surveys.

Its platform has been adopted by many leading advertising and marketing clients in the UK and in the US.

The company, which also has premises in London, is set to open offices in New York City as part of a major expansion programme, and this year has tripled its annual turnover. It has gone from having six employees in 2015 to a team of more than 30.

In addition, the business was recently selected to front a marketing campaign by the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund – which has supported Relative Insight’s growth. And it has just received further backing for its expansion strategy with £4 million investment from the NPIF and Maven Capital Partners.

Former Lancaster University researchers Dr James Walkerdine and Dr Phil Greenwood started the business in 2012 by developing and building on 40 years of research and development projects into computer science and language analysis within the University’s School of Computing and Communications, Linguistics and English Language Department, and the University’s UCREL research centre.

Dr Walkerdine said: “We have developed a world-class language analysis development centre based right here in Lancaster and built on top of technology developed over more than 40 years of cutting-edge research from Lancaster University.

“As former Lancaster researchers it has also been great to be able to draw on high quality graduates and students from Lancaster University as we have grown the business.

“The last few years has seen considerable investment and we have been able to open offices in London and now in New York and we look forward to continuing this exciting programme of growth.”

Dr Paul Rayson, Reader in Natural Language Processing, and Director of the UCREL research centre at Lancaster University, said: “It is great to see Relative Insight apply research developed over many years here at the University. They have been able to adapt and build on the semantic technologies that we created and make a very successful business, employing highly skilled graduates.”

Relative Insight has employed Lancaster graduates with degrees in computer science and linguistics and has benefitted from student internship programmes, which the University offers to businesses. To find out more about student internship opportunities visit www.lancs.ac.uk/sci-tech/internships. To find more about basing your business on campus, and for a virtual tour, see www.lancaster.ac.uk/sci-tech/business/office-space.

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