New investment for Idibon!

Posted 10.16.2014

We are excited to announce that Idibon has received $5.5 million in investment! This will allow us to create more technologies to support all the world’s languages!

If you are in New York this week, you can see Idibon’s clients John Akred (Silicon Valley Data Science) and Karim Qazi ( talk about Idibon at Strata, the leading Data Conference. See also, VentureBeat’s coverage of Idibon’s funding.

A big thank you to everyone at Idibon for growing our company – please come join us!

Rob Munro

Idibon Raises $5.5 million in Series A to Deliver Actionable Insights on Language Data

San Francisco, CA – October 16, 2014

The world’s information is doubling in size every two years and most of it is unstructured data, including social media, emails, comments, and PDFs. More than ever, companies need to leverage technology to manage, understand and take action on their data, in hundreds of languages.

By combining machine learning and natural language with a global network of analysts, Idibon is able to understand language faster, with unprecedented accuracy, and at a fraction of the cost of current technologies. Idibon provides business analysts in global organizations and consulting firms with trusted language processing tools that are adaptive to complex uses — from predicting future purchase intent via social media to measure campaign effectiveness in Portuguese, to creating a database about car features from disparate sources in English.

For example, recently overhauled its technology platform and selected Idibon to extract thousands of different car features from text. “Idibon provides a well-designed and uniquely delivered service that can be flexibly integrated into applications. We are impressed by Idibon’s ability to work with very large unstructured documents with esoteric terminology,” said John Akred, the CTO of Silicon Valley Data Science who led the initative. “We’re looking forward to applying Idibon’s technology to other use cases at Edmunds and other customers.”

“At Idibon, we empower our clients to extract the information that matters most to them,” said Robert Munro, CEO of Idibon. “Idibon is passionate about helping organizations unlock the information in our rapidly connecting world, from helping make smart phones smarter to helping UNICEF extract information in dozens of languages in Africa — all with the same technology.”

Idibon’s Series A investment is by Altpoint Ventures LP, Khosla Ventures, and Morningside, with participation from Samsung and Inventec. Vadim Tarasov from Altpoint will join Khosla on Idibon’s board of directors. Tarasov’s experience in Europe and the strength of new investors in Asia will help Idibon strengthen their global impact.

Idibon launched in January 2014 and is based in San Francisco, California.

About Idibon:
Idibon helps companies understand their language data. Using cutting-edge natural language processing and data science, Idibon takes unstructured data like social media, emails, and websites, and provides structured answers to key business intelligence questions.

About Altpoint Ventures LP:
Altpoint Ventures is a venture capital firm with offices in Menlo Park, CA and New York, NY, investing in early and growth stage companies in consumer internet, big data and analytics, e-commerce, mobile solutions, augmented reality, wearable technologies and Internet of things. Altpoint Ventures LP is affiliated with Altpoint Capital Partners LLC, a private equity firm focused on the middle market with offices in New York, NY and Houston, TX.

About Khosla Ventures:
Khosla Ventures offers venture assistance, strategic advice and capital to entrepreneurs in clean and environmentally friendly technologies as well as traditional venture areas like the Internet, computing, mobile and silicon technology. Khosla Ventures is based in Menlo Park, California.

About Morningside:
Morningside is a private equity and venture capital firm specializing in seed, start-up, early venture, and growth capital investments.

Press Contact
Robert Munro
415 509 4858

(Original Press Release)

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Work Opportunities at Idibon

Posted 10.15.2014

Idibon is looking for great people to join our team in our sunny San Francisco offices. We are a startup of a dozen full-time employees, so this is a great chance to get in on the ground floor of a growing company that is looking to have a sustained, positive impact on the world. We’re eight floors above Powell BART with adjacent parking.

You will be joining a company that’s developing cutting-edge language technologies and artificial intelligence. Our founding team has some of the most experienced people in natural language processing, machine learning, crowdsourcing, and managing information in multiple languages. Joining Idibon will be a great chance to learn about these data science skills, plus astronomy, bicycle touring, emoticons, and furniture design.

We are a for-profit company but we also have a strong social-good agenda, having worked in disaster response world-wide, serving organizations who create the world’s most used technology, like Samsung, and organizations helping the world help itself, like the United Nations.

Current openings:

For all positions, we are looking find someone who is talented, energetic, and committed. We love working here, and we want to find others who will share our passion for what we’re building. Salaries, stock options and benefits are competitive and commensurate with experience.

Director of Operations

Idibon is looking for a Director of Operations to lead the design and development of our scalable natural language processing systems.

As our first dedicated operations hire, you will plan our future IT capacity, and work on building a new team of equally excellent operations professionals. You’ll work alongside an engineering team that’s developing cutting-edge language technologies and artificial intelligence, providing the support they need to host, deploy, and maintain Idibon’s information technology resources.

About you

You get excited about caching. You like that it is complicated to support interactions between real-time and near-line systems and enjoy coming up with solutions to these complications. You have skills in most of the following:

  • Running Ubuntu on EC2
  • Other Amazon Web Services, particularly S3, ElasticCache, and RDS
  • Internet security best practices
  • Chef
  • Riak, or some other NoSQL database
  • Redis
  • JVM optimization and management
  • JVM languages, ideally Java and JRuby
  • Resque, or other queuing systems
  • Managing Rails apps
  • Using and managing Git
  • Designing and developing Enterprise SaaS products
  • Bachelors or higher in a relevant technical field
  • 5+ years experience in a relevant role


  • You have existing experience in language technology (Search, Natural Language Processing, etc.)
  • You have used Hadoop or MapReduce or another distributed system for something interesting
  • Open Source community participation, particularly an active Github account
  • You write documentation

For more information or to apply, please Email us at:

Analyst/Data Scientist

We’re looking for someone who loves analyzing (language) data and talking to customers. Our clients answers all sorts of questions using Idibon’s products and you’ll help them figure out how to get the best results. So this involves experimental design, writing scripts, running stats, making sure you understand client needs and making sure you communicate them so that the rest of the team understands them, too.

About you

You find interesting patterns in data and can tie those patterns back to human communication and social trends. The ideal candidate is curious and can run stats, write scripts, and manage projects. You’ll help us collect new data and refine how we use existing data sources. You’ll also help develop best practices for instrumentation and experimentation. You have most of these requirements:

  • Experience solving analytic problems using quantitative approaches
  • Fluency with at least one scripting language like Ruby or Python
  • Expertise in R (Matlab, SPSS and the like are okay but we like R)
  • Enthusiasm for exploratory data analysis as well as testing hypotheses and getting to answers
  • Experience developing statistical models and evaluating them
  • Collaboration and communication–in particular, you know to make complicated things intelligible; you like learning about people
  • Strong project management skills
  • MS or PhD in a relevant technical field or 2+ years experience in a relevant role


  • You have a bunch of fun language-related blog post ideas
  • Experience with large data sets and distributed computing (Map/Reduce, Hadoop, Hive)
  • 1-2 years in a technical, client-facing role
  • Experience and excitement around the diversity of languages in the world  and the diverse ways they are used in communication
  • Experience using graphics to convey information
  • Experience with time series analysis

For more information or to apply, please Email us at:

Systems/Application Engineer

Idibon is looking for a Systems Engineer or Application Engineer to develop our scalable natural language processing systems.

About You

You like being the reason that everything works. You are someone who gets excited about optimizing distributed systems, and making them scale. We’d like to find someone with skills in some or all of the following:

  • JVM languages, ideally Java and JRuby
  • Riak, or some other NoSQL database
  • Sinatra, Rack, Puma, Rails, etc.
  • Git
  • Bachelors or higher in a relevant technical field
  • 1+ years experience in a relevant role


  • You have existing experience in language technology (Search, Natural Language Processing, etc.)
  • You have used Hadoop or MapReduce or another distributed system for something interesting
  • You have an active interest in global linguistic diversity
  • You’ve provisioned something with Chef or Puppet
  • Open Source community participation, particularly an active Github account
  • You write documentation

For more information or to apply, please Email us at:

Office Manager/Executive Assistant

Idibon is looking for someone who can ensure that everything runs smoothly in a fun, fast-paced start-up. We help computers understand people so people can understand people.

About You

You are organized, always on top of things, and have the following skills:

  • Organizing company events (in-house like lunches, invited talks, but we do a fair amount of hiking and other events like archery, and the theatre)
  • You’ll also help us keep on top of paperwork and interact with our third-party provider for payroll & benefits
  • You’ll help us develop the neo-film-noir feel–office systems, layouts, and equipment procurement
  • In the executive assistant functions, you’ll be managing meetings, calendars, making travel arrangements, etc.
  • Strong communication skills are required since you’ll be talking and writing to all sorts of folks


  • You are fluent in multiple languages
  • You have experience in office management and executive assistant roles

This position also offers a great opportunity to gain experience in data science and/or enterprise sales, as you will be working with some of leaders in both, with plenty of opportunities to build your skills.


For more information or to apply, please Email us at:

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The language of food

Posted 09.16.2014

Food expressions are one of most global forms of language. We call the French food croissant a “croissant” in English as well as French, and don’t translate it to ‘crescent’, as we would for any other use of the word crescent in French.

Sometimes the original meanings of foods are rarely known. For example, barbeque (my favorite food) comes from the Taíno language of Hispaniola, the island containing the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The original word barabicu roughly translates as to ‘sacred fire pit’.

Often the food itself changes, too, even when the expressions do not. For example, ketchup was once a fish-based Fujianese sauce that was made thousands of miles from the nearest tomato.

We are happy to report that the complexities and etymologies of food expressions can be explored in length in a new book by Idibon’s advisor, Dan Jurafsky:

Dan will tell you exactly how ketchup went from fish to tomatoes, and many other interesting observations about food expressions, such as why you worry when a restaurant menu insists that its dishes are ‘fresh food’.

See for more about the language of food, for dates/locations of where Dan will talk about it.

You can also read more about the book in the New York Times:

Or hear about it on NPR:

You should also listen to this earlier NPR report on Dan’s work with colleagues on the language of Yelp reviews. You get to hear Audie Cornish say, “Shame on you, cupcake”.

We wish Dan the best of success! We’ll be reading our copy at Idibon over lunch.

Rob Munro

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