Mashable features


Big data and machine learning startups have exploded onto the startup scene. One such company,, suggests the best city for you to move to. It uses a matching algorithm to suggest the best market for your skills and needs. When I tried it, it recommended that I move to Singapore…who knew!

Mashable did a piece on teleport just a couple of days ago, suggesting that these types of startups are gaining much needed attention. Most people do not know that these services exist, so the whole big data community needs to get together to educate the public that these sites are for real, and often free of charge, or using a freemium, ad-based business model, or subscription model.

At first it can seem unreal: using a huge amount of available data, and some user data provided during on-boarding, an algorithm can sift through millions of possibilities and provide you with the best match. For example, eHarmony recently entered the corporate recruiting space with an app that matches a prospect with the best company based on a value survey.

At LaunchScore, we think that helping entrepreneurs find the best business opportunities is solvable with big data and statistical analysis techniques. We can’t estimate the value of internet startups or high-tech companies, but when it comes to the problem of choosing a type of conventional, geographically limited, small business to enter, or which city to launch it in, we think we have it covered. We predict the earning potential of over 650,000 opportunities, covering 800 business types and 750 U.S. cities.

Of course, we expect that as the data gets better over time, and as our algorithms get smarter, our results will become more and more accurate. Maybe a competitor will emerge that has better data (we use Census and other government data and business directories, for the most part), and tech (we currently use mysql, stata, and ruby on rails) than we do. However, for the time being, we may be the best free source for such information out there right now!

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André is a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Michigan Tech. At LaunchScore, he is responsible for driving the mission, vision, and goals of the company. He is interested in how firms and entrepreneurs create value through innovation. He has published articles on innovation and entrepreneurship in leading management journals including: Journal of Management, Long Range Planning, Journal of Business Research, and Journal of Engineering Management.