Creating an AI-Powered Research Assistant

Meaty insights from Jason Briggs, Founder of Diffeo

Research is part of almost everyone’s job today, and for most of us, that research is done online. Search engines, multiple tabs with different websites, a Google Doc full of notes — it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the information we find on the way to gaining the insights needed to make decisions. What’s important and what’s not?

That’s the problem that Jason Briggs, cofounder of Diffeo, is working to solve. Diffeo helps analysts and other people who use the internet for research accelerate and deepen their research without changing their workflows.

We talked to Jason about how Diffeo used data to expand into finance, how he’s bringing AI closer to the individual user, and how he plans on growing Diffeo.

This is part 3 of “The New Faces of FinTech” series. Don’t forget to check out part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Tell us about Diffeo.

Jason: Diffeo is an AI-powered research assistant that connects to the tools you use every day and helps you uncover relationships across disparate data.

What milestones really made a difference to the growth of your company?

Jason: The biggest thing we’ve learned is the idea that AI is most effective when it’s close to the user’s work. Lots of companies are working on AI solutions that work for the average case for the average user. Most current AI improves the average user’s experience, which is great, but if you can tailor your AI to a specific individual’s workflow, you can make a major impact on how they do things.

We realized we had to stop making minor improvements across all users, and focus more on what specific users needed from the solution. As an example, we could try to build a global knowledge graph — a means of showing the entire world’s relationships between different data — and give it to the user, but that would be almost impossible and not very useful. So we’re focused on building a knowledge graph for each specific user.

We want to help people uncover insights and relationships within their particular entity or organization. The biggest shift is from AI companies building big, general solutions to AI companies working on getting AI closer to their users.

What tactics will you implement over the next year to continue the growth of your business?

Jason: We’re expanding into finance, so we’re getting momentum there. For us, 2018 will really be focused on finance and government contracts.

Our priority now is on making sure we integrate with as many apps and tools as possible so we can help more people. We’ve done Microsoft Office, Firefox, Chrome, Slack, and a few others.

More broadly, we are really working hard to hammer home our messaging and position of Diffeo as a collaborative agent that’s almost like another member of your team. That vision is also driving our product development. We see that as the future of AI.

Stay on the lookout for more interviews on growth with some of FinTech Sandbox’s most interesting founders as part of the series. While you wait for the next interview, you can read some of our past interviews with edtech founders and some of Boston’s coolest alcohol companies.

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