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Start-up Mediego

AB - 27/08/2015

Mediego, personalisation in real time

Mediego was founded in April 2015 by Anne-Marie Kermarrec, a specialist in peer-to-peer systems and a Director of Research at Inria. This start-up company builds up a profile of individual web users in order to offer them products and services that match their tastes. 

Can you tell us something of your background?

Anne-Marie Kermarrec : After gaining a PhD in Computer Science at the University of Rennes in 1996, I obtained a post-doc position in Amsterdam working with Professor Tanenbaum, an internationally recognised expert in the field of operating systems. I then returned to the University of Rennes as a lecturer before leaving in 2000 to join Microsoft Research in Great Britain where I began to specialise in peer-to-peer systems. After four years at Microsoft, I moved to Inria as a Director of Research. In April 2015, I founded the start-up company Mediego.

 

What does this new business offer?

Anne-Marie Kermarrec : Mediego is an on-line content personalisation service based on the use of a collaborative filtering algorithm. We have all seen these algorithms in operation on sites such as Amazon or Netflix that recommend products or relevant pages. They build up a profile of the interests of the user by analysing their web browsing and identifying similarities with other users. This profile is then used to target offers to the user. The unique feature of Mediego is that we have developed a solution that can generate recommendations in real time, from the user’s first visit to the site. The solution is also extremely easy to use and capable of working with very large scale systems. In order to achieve this, we make use of the identified similarities between the browsing profiles of web users across a number of different sites. To put it another way, if you have read the same articles as another web user on an on-line newspaper, for example, the Mediego algorithm will use this information to recommend relevant content on that site, or others, in real time.

 

Anne-Marie Kermarrec, Inria researcher Anne-Marie Kermarrec, Inria researcher

What made you decide to make the move from research to business?

Anne-Marie Kermarrec : For a researcher, it’s exhilarating to see the fruit of your research transformed into real products available to the world at large. It's something that rarely, if ever, happens in your career. I therefore decided to take a chance. I was also motivated by the idea of creating jobs, especially in Brittany as that’s where I come from.

 


Have you any advice for future entrepreneurs?

Anne-Marie Kermarrec: It is essential to have the right people around you. They must be competent, and you must enjoy working with them. Researchers often tend to work on their own, and to be valued as individuals. In a start-up company, the situation is different - the individual is less important. What matters above all is the success of the project. It is therefore essential to build a team of people who are motivated by the success of the project. And while the technology is important, you must not lose sight of the other aspects of the business, such as sales strategy, management, and analysis of customer requirements. The good news is that a career in research prepares you very well for all that. It's a very competitive environment, with permanent assessment and frequent criticism.

Keywords: Peer to peer Personnalisation Start-up I-Lab Transfert de technologie

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