By: Diane Stirling
Would the time you spend on email be more productive if your inbox was sorted, organized, and prioritized by people, topics and time?
Mozzo Analytics thinks so–and envisions a three-tiered marketplace for a technology that can do just that. It’s why the company is in the StartFast Venture Accelerator in Syracuse working to bring its idea to fruition in 100 days. The company was one of nine selected from 300 applicants for the program in 2012.
The team at Mozzo (pronounced Mott-so –meaning “hub” in Italian) has been in place for a year. It recently completed an alpha stage and private beta testing. Now, according to Michael D’Eredita, an assistant professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and Mozzo Analytics’ CEO, the company is almost ready for a public beta mode, coinciding with the accelerator’s Demo Day presentations in mid-August.
For the moment, the company is actively seeking input to refine its offering for utmost productivity by reflecting how users think and behave, D’Eredita said. “We don’t want to go in with any pretenses of what we think the tool should be; we really want users to tell us that,” he offered.
Mozzo Analytics works this way:
• The technology goes into a user’s email and other highly unstructured content, such as links and attachments
• It finds information and clusters it into hubs that are tied by common topics
• It pulls the data into a clean space that is filtered by three options–when an email was sent, who it was sent to, and what it was talking about.
The concept is an extension of what people naturally do when accessing their inbox, according to D’Eredita. “The first thing you do is filter; you prioritize the order of emails that you need to read and strategize before you even engage with email,” D’Eredita suggested.
The group has identified three tiers of marketplace users. The first is individuals who want to better organize their inbox content. For those who receive 100 or 200 emails a day, MozzoMail “can make that a heck of a lot less random and bring some order to it,” he said. Then there are two levels of business users. The tool gives small-to-medium-sized businesses a “1,000-foot view” of email across the organization, which integrates new contacts and topics as new emails enter in real time. Thirdly, there is a huge potential in big enterprise, providing a “10,000-foot perspective,” D’Eredita believes. These businesses may have little idea about the data on their servers and what information is being exchanged. Mozzo’s processes focus on real customers and real inquiries amongst the array of data received. “The relevance of that information and the salience of it is something we can actually produce,” he said.
Mozzo’s key differentiator is its built-in social behavioral aspect and intelligence, “a mashup of what we know about social behaviors and the nature of interactions,” mixed with “natural language processing that allows you to take text and parse it,” the professor explained.
After public beta comes formal execution, D’Eredita said. As a professor and an entrepreneur with an experienced team of professionals working alongside younger student teams, D’Eredita still sees the StartFast environment as a level playing field. “Age doesn’t matter. All the wisdom in the world, and you still have to get on the field and run fast, so I’m very much in the position that the students are,” he admitted. “There’s always a risk no matter where you are in the entrepreneurial space, and that’s the fun of it,” he laughed. “A lot of people have ideas, but in the end it comes down to execution.”
On the MozzoMail team are experienced pros Eric Brown as CTO, who led Syracuse Research Corp operations for cyber security and infrastructure for many years; Maria Picone as CIO, with 15 years in tech solutions in a data intensive environment; and Chris DeFelice, who is the company’s front end developer.
The time may now be right for this technology, D’Eredita said. “We hope to add that layer of intelligence to the unstructured data that’s getting created out there,” he said. “We want to let people just engage and share; behave and interact without a concern for finding, searching, filing. We want to be on the back end of everyone’s lives – not in a maniacal way, but we think we can help people by sitting back there and doing all this for them. We just don’t see a reason for this not to happen,” he offered.
D’Eredita’s willingness to chance creating a new technology parallels his larger vision of transforming Central New York into an entrepreneurial hub. “It’s not just product. I want to become the hub of talent in Upstate, the place where top talent comes to innovate and develop and change the world,” he enthused. “I’m a huge believer in disruption. You get more and more smart people around, and you get more and more smart people together, and you never know what emerges. We are trying to intercept the future to a large extent.”
“Who knows,” D’Eredita acknowledged with a smile. “We’re not sure if we can do it or not” he said, referencing both his current technology and his ultimate vision for Central New York. “But that’s the whole fun of this.”