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Startup OnlyBoth turns IBM's Watson on its head

Bob Brown | May 21, 2014
OnlyBoth, a Pittsburgh startup whose first offering is an app that generates often surprising insights about U.S. colleges and universities, has seriously been a long time coming.

Valdes-Perez claims his team isn't worried about how to make money off the initial app, but will use the experience with it to learn about how people interact with it and what future applications might be. "We'll worry about making money in the future," he says.

Initially, users will find the web service at the OnlyBoth website, but Valdes-Perez says the company has fairly liberal terms of use that would let people put the technology on their websites. He says the dataset used to feed OnlyBoth is based largely on federal government reports, which are released every couple of years, though also includes data collected by the team, such as alumni that go on to play in the National Football League.

Future apps could focus on topics such as sports, politics, genetics, investing and even journalism, says Valdes-Perez, who started OnlyBoth with CTO Andre  Lessa, who he recruited to work at Vivisimo and then united with on a couple of projects there.

The initial OnlyBoth app might be described as a consumer offering, but Valdes-Perez says there's no reason that enterprises, government agencies and naturally, universities, couldn't all put the technology to work for them. It's possible that data collected through sensors might be automatically funneled into structured datasets that OnlyBoth algorithms could go to work on, but Valdes-Perez says the technology would most typically make sense for use with datasets of interest to people and compiled through human effort.

Oh, and one finding you probably won't get via OnlyBoth's initial app: Where the company gets its name. The software occasionally generates statements in the form "Only A is both P and Q" or "Only A has both as many X and as many Y".


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