Tapping into social media: the story of Lucidya
Arabic content, be it news or software, has become massively popular, and one Saudi startup is mining that trend in social media analytics.
Lucidya provides social media sentiment analysis in Arabic for businesses, and the founders settled on a software-as-a-service (SAAS) model to deliver both a platform and reports to clients.
“[The Saas model has an] ability to grow quickly to multiple markets,” head of marketing and business development Hatem Kameli told Wamda. He said a major problem for businesses in the Saudi market was that social media sentiment analysis software was not available in Arabic, particularly in with multiple dialects.
“The number of registered users in Lucidya reached 320 users in the last four months,” he said, adding that the company is seeking investment in order to expand outside Saudi Arabia.
Lucidya launched in 2015, and joined the Wadi Makkah accelerator soon after.
CEO Abdullah Assiri and Mohamed Milayni had previously cofounded Waqood, which designs and develops apps and websites, and Kameli was the founder of i Click for digital marketing services.
Other companies providing similar services are Egypt’s Badr IT and Crowd Analyzer.
Entrepreneur and potential user Mohammed Badawi told Wamda the difference was that Lucidya was a “local substitute” for Saudi businesses. He felt a local option would understand the Saudi market and Saudi users’ needs more than outsiders.
Big data, big market
The global big data market was worth $27.3 billion in 2016. MENA controls about 4.5 percent of that. Lucidya claims that spending on social media analysis tools in Saudi will rise to $70 million, although did not say by when.
The Lucidya team has developed a search engine that uses machine learning to monitor and analyze social media data depending on the geographical location.
Dr. Mazen Melibari told Wamda that Lucidya is currently working on Twitter analysis. “The engine archives around eight million tweets every day, and picks out other tweets instantly,” he said. “The engine then organizes data and classifies it, which allows it to analyze the user’s sentiments via AI techniques. The results are finally sorted and shown in a simple way that is easy to understand.”
A partnership with Twitter, announced in January this year, allowed them to use the US social media company’s tool Gnip to extract archived data since 2006.
Lucidya signed a partnership in February with the Digital Research Company in Saudi Arabia which specializes in digital research, and with the Qatari Social Media Solutions in December 2016.
Microsoft is supporting the company via its Bizspark Plus service and a $133,000 grant. “This helped the company develop a strong and flexible infrastructure, allowing it to expand without affecting the platform’s performance,” CEO Assiri said in a statement.