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Digital Contact make sense of tweets, posts, shares and likes on social media every day.

By Chris Price

Every minute, there are more than 2.4 million posts shared on Facebook and 278,000 tweets sent. There are 571 webpages created and 68,000 blogs posted during that same 60 seconds.

That is an ocean of information, which big data company Digital Contact is using to make a host of city traders and investment firms a lot richer.

The tech business, which employs 12 people at its offices in Strood, has designed software which alerts brokers when different stock is being talked about across the internet.

Digital Contact chief executive Gareth Mann, centre, leads a team of 12 staff
Digital Contact chief executive Gareth Mann, centre, leads a team of 12 staff

They process 22 billion messages a day and aim to eclipse Bloomberg and Reuters as the go-to resource for the 900,000 trades made each day on the FTSE 100.

“It gives a trader extra information they have not had before and gets it to them quickfire,” said founder and chief executive Gareth Mann.

“Our platform monitors a lot of financial information and chatter, so there’s a chance signals could be found about things happening in the market before a trade is made.

“The earlier they get on a trade, the bigger possible profit. The downside is it also increases the risk.

“It gives them a competitive edge over someone who has not got this technology. We are holding a goldmine of information.”

The company, which has just been nominated for its first KEiBA this month, has raised
$4 million in equity funding since it launched in 2011 and Mr Mann has just returned from a trip to Boston talking to investors about raising more cash.

The team at Digital Contact
The team at Digital Contact

It is a far cry from its beginnings inside his house in Greenhithe in 2011, when Mr Mann and a small group of business partners spent a year developing code for their product.

A beta version of its software was released in 2013 and then fully launched eight months later after refining the coding.

“It is a proper data company start-up story,” said Mr Mann, who worked in financial services for 10 years, including as head of digital for MF Global, the international broker which went bankrupt in 2011.

“I loved working there. We must have broken all sorts of laws about sleeping at your business but that is start-up life. We were hungry and were coding all the time.”

The company was based at the Nucleus Business Centre in Dartford before its latest move to Medway City Estate, where it will also launch an “incubator space” for start-ups.

Letting part of its offices to other businesses seems like an odd move, especially as building work in the office will not be complete for another couple of months. Mr Mann, keen to get staff in the building as soon as possible, shows there is logic behind renting out space.

The new Digital Contact Office in Medway City Estate
The new Digital Contact Office in Medway City Estate

“We are growing our own clients for our B2B products,” said the 36-year-old, originally from Bexley. “It is something you see in the States a lot but we are quite closed about it in the UK.

“Our product can be applied to many different business types. As a business we are about big data and offer it to the financial sector but it can be applied to sports, betting, media and many more areas.

“People can take our technology and focus on areas we don’t focus on.”

He said their Kent base has thrown up some interesting conversations with international clients. “We speak to Fortune 500 companies who ask where we are in London. When we tell them we’re in Medway they say ‘where’s that?’

“Americans only seem to know London and Birmingham. If you’re not there, they think you’re nowhere.

“But I’m in Kent because I’m a Kent boy. Even though I worked up in the city, I didn’t see Kent as a challenge. Skilled people are everywhere in the UK, not just in London.”

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