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Marvin Igelman, CEO of Sprylogics talks to Cantech Letter

Big data doesn’t always have to come from big companies.

Concord Ontario-based Sprylogics (TSXV:SPY) is seeing nascent success with its search and analysis technology that uses Machine Learning techniques to process, analyze and interpret unstructured data including real time conversation, in order to extract key sentiments, facts, user interests and intent.

Sprylogics got the notice of some in the public markets in August when it acquired Poynt which had the distinction of being a runaway hit as an app, but a decided flop as a company. Under the management of CEO Marvin Igelman, however, Sprylogics looks to be maximizing the location based search technology, and then some. Cantech Letter’s Terry Dawes talked to Igelman about patents, parking, and Poynt’s recent launch on Amazon’s Kindle devices.

The field of mobile real-time marketing and user engagement is getting pretty crowded, although it seems like only a few companies seem poised to capitalize on real momentum. How has Sprylogics managed to cement its claim as a player in this field?

Sprylogics plays in the Mobile Search space which is experiencing steady growth. This past year, mobile search has overtaken desktop search. More and more, users are searching within a Mobile App. That is the space we participate in. We monetize over local mobile search, when there is a specific intent that is monetizable. We are the only App that includes Messaging, Search and Sharing All-in-One, out of the box into a single app. This means that users can search while they are messaging their friends, and share that content without leaving the chat conversion. So, we are bringing a more holistic experience into messaging, something that was not available before.

This past year, mobile search has overtaken desktop search. More and more, users are searching within a Mobile App. That is the space we participate in.

You recently opened your SDK to outside developers. Any interesting developments come of that yet?

Yes, there are about a dozen companies that are currently integrating our SDK into their offerings. We have announced Nimbuzz so far, but we expect to announce several others over the coming months. The target customers are typically in two camps: a) over the top (OTT) messaging providers (such as Nimbuzz), b) vertical specific mobile app providers. Our value is slightly different for each segment. The OTT messaging providers want to add search to their messaging offerings, because it keeps their users more engaged when they are chatting with each other. And messaging app providers want to enrich their capabilities by adding search results that can be shared between users. We are taking a vertical go-to-market approach. We are currently seeing a healthy demand for our SDK from travel apps.

What has the addition of William Mougayar, with his deep experience in start-up culture, meant to Sprylogics?

William is known and well respected in the North American tech startup ecosystem. He is adding clarity in how we communicate our vision, and helping via his relationships in media circles and with influencers in this space.

Poynt was a very important and strategic acquisition. They had several relationships with content providers that we didn’t have.

Earlier this year, you picked up the struggling mobile search company Poynt. How has this acquisition expanded Sprylogics’ horizons?

Poynt was a very important and strategic acquisition. They had several relationships with content providers that we didn’t have. We have since integrated that content into our SDK offering to benefit our partners and increase the monetization potential resulting from user activity. Furthermore, we are releasing a newly enhanced version of Poynt in mid-January. This will be a totally revamped version, with a new user interface, and integrated messaging, search and sharing capabilities.


You’ve partnered recently with messaging app service Nimbuzz, which has very deep traction in India, undercutting local carriers with its voice plan. How is Sprylogics poised for the Southeast Asian and Asian markets?

Nimbuzz’s presence is strong not only in India, but also in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Therefore, we expect growth from these areas. We are also targeting other messaging app providers in other geographical areas such as Latin America.

Poynt’s patent approval for its “3-Dimensional” location based advertising system adds to your patent portfolio, bringing it up to a total of seven patents. How do you plan on making that pay in the mobile app field?

Our IP portfolio is very important to us. The location based search and advertising market are growing exponentially, and maintaining thought leadership in this space is key. Our ever-growing patent portfolio protects our technological advances which can be embedded by our partners within their applications by integrating our SDKs. The 3D patent helps us maintain this leadership position as it contemplates scenarios that we believe will be relevant for some time.

When we aggregate vertical-specific content, we combine it for the user. Example: for a restaurant we get basic information on the restaurant from one source, reviews from another, images from a third place and reservation process from the fourth.

Amazon’s Kindle recently slotted the Poynt app into the “recommended download” section of its online store. It’s been estimated that Kindle devices represent up to one-third of all Android tablets in the world. What’s the potential both for you and for Amazon here?

Amazon is establishing its Kindle tablet as a main contender in the Android space and continues to gain market share because of Kindle’s high value and functionality. They have recognized that Kindle users want to use Apps that take advantage of its GPS-based localization capabilities, and that is where Poynt became attractive to them. Given the large Kindle market share footprint, which is especially strong in North America, this further expands and strengthens our advertising distribution, and will also benefit our ad partnerships with increased search activity.


How do you integrate advertising into your existing apps? Is it real-time bidding? Do you partner with any of the existing ad resellers?

First, we use different content providers depending on the part of the world that the user is in, and depending on the content verticals that are being accessed. Then, we insert native ads (as sponsored search, based on the location proximity of the user), or highly targeted display ads. That way, we optimize for the quality of the local mobile search, and maximize the potential revenue that we share with our partners. When we aggregate vertical-specific content, we combine it for the user. Example: for a restaurant we get basic information on the restaurant from one source, reviews from another, images from a third place and reservation process from the fourth. We blend it together. Even Google can’t offer this right now. We work with various ad exchanges.

Most recently, you’ve partnered with Parkopedia to integrate its vast amount of parking data into Poynt. Is the strategy, then, to identify companies that are making innovative use of mobile technologies and gradually fold them in to your operations? The possibilities seem endless.

Yes. Remember, we’re about monetizing intent during the mobile search experience. With Parkopedia, Poynt users will be able to find parking information near where they are searching for places, without leaving the App, including exact parking locations, parking entrances, hours of operations, prices, user reviews, and the ability to pay for parking (in selected locations) from their smartphone. So, Poynt users will have access to integrated parking information within their search results for restaurants, event locations, businesses, or any places they are looking for, all seamlessly within search and share functionality. Sprylogics and Parkopedia expect the integration to be completed in the coming months.

 

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