Andrew Stephen, Felipe Thomaz and Gregory Clark have incorporated a research spinout, Augmented Intelligence Labs (AIL).
The company develops analysis and decision support systems for marketing leaders, creating tools which are integrated into those offered by marketing research companies.
One of its tools, called Hypertrends, is a trend detection and analysis system that maps complex social connections to understand the flow and significance of ideas, discussion topics and emotions.
The approach assists strategic decision-making by providing context and rationale for long-term predictions. This analytical capability is being used to underpin the sustainability practice at Kantar, the market data business, and will guide companies’ sustainability strategies and investment.
Through its research commercialisation arm Oxford University Innovation, the University has created more than 200 spinout companies based on academic research. In the last financial year, Oxford spinout companies raised more than £880m in external fundraising.
Co-founder Felipe Thomaz, associate professor of marketing, said: “Oxford has a long history of technology transfer, and an incredibly well established process to do so.
“It certainly was very helpful to deal with people that have enormous amounts of experience in commercialising research.”
This is the first time a spinout company has been established from the School. Historically, research commercialisation has been concentrated in engineering, physical sciences and medicine.
Dr Thomaz said: “A lot of the barriers we (and the University) faced with this process goes to the relationship between social sciences expertise and commercial buying processes.
“Historically, a company might have just hired university researchers as consultants, or poached them entirely.
“It is relatively more rare that entirely new tools are developed - as we have - and perhaps even more unusual that those tools have met with an immediate market need.”
Co-founder Greg Clark, a postdoctoral research fellow, said: “At AIL we’re combining cutting-edge mathematics with marketing theory to provide measurable, verifiable, and actionable answers to business’s toughest questions.
“This work pushes the boundary of academic research while simultaneously providing a competitive advantage for our clients.”
Co-founder Andrew Stephen, Associate Dean of Research, L’Oréal Professor of Marketing and Director of the Future of Marketing Initiative, said: “This commercialisation is a reminder of the depth and value of the research being conducted at Oxford Saïd.
“I am immensely grateful for the hard work of my co-founders and the support of professional staff at Oxford Said and the University, as we have navigated this complex process.”
Peter Tufano, Peter Moores Dean, said: “I am delighted that Augmented Intelligence Labs has been incorporated on the eve of our 25th anniversary year.
“I hope the next quarter-century will see many more Oxford Saïd academics following this lead. Commercialisation is an important means, though not the only one, by which we can apply our research insights for the benefit of wider society.”