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Ciprian Borodescu is a tech-business in-between guy, passionate about technology and entrepreneurship, and altMBA alumni (Seth Godin’s MBA program). In 2005 he started his first web agency, grew it to a decent size with customers all over the world. Since 2015 he’s the organizer of BucharestJS – a JS developer group in Bucharest with over 3,000 members; he founded and co-organized JSHacks – JavaScript hackathon happening once per year. Starting 2018, Ciprian is Co-founder & CEO at MorphL – a platform that uses machine learning to predict user behaviors in mobile/web applications. MorphL is proud recipient of Google Digital News Innovation Grant (50,000 EUR).

Can you tell us how the idea for your startup began?

We’ve been building mobile and web products for over 10 years and we noticed that the product development process usually consists of a few important phases: planning, design, development, and launch. These activities were assigned to different departments/roles within a company: designer, developer, and marketer. In other words, there’s a mix of skills that go into building a product’s user experience.

Additionally, this process undergoes multiple iterations which, as developers, we seldom navigated by looking at the data. Usually, there was somebody else, be it a product owner, marketing or salesperson, analyzing it and feeding us a feature list needed for the next product release. Obviously, this leads to lots of guess-work. That’s why we starting thinking of ways we could optimize this entire process by leveraging machine learning to facilitate a dynamic and personalized user experience.

Since we’ve been working with internet & media companies (especially in the publishing vertical) and the end of 2017 we applied with a prototype for Google Digital News Initiative Fund – a partnership program between Google and publishers in Europe to support quality journalism through technology.

We got the 50,000 EUR grant from Google DNI at the beginning of this year, which was a validation that the idea has great potential to introduce a shift in the mindset and work process of the entire digital industry: building AI-first mobile & web apps.

We then started working with organizations to develop metrics that go beyond the default off-the-shelf analytics provider: say the number of page-views or the number of clicks to determine conversion. Instead, we use machine learning to draw insights from multiple signals or event streams, allowing us to build predictive models that can facilitate a personalized user experience in mobile & web applications.

How long have you been working together?

Although we only have 9 months working at MorphL, we’re proud with our progress and the interest it has generated. We’ve launched the Community Edition (open source) in September and we’re already working on integrating more use-cases into our pipelines.

We grew our team to 7 core members, from 3 at the beginning of this year and we’re having interesting partnership conversations that we’ll hope to close by end of this year.

What are you really passionate about achieving? 

We know we have a gargantuan mission ahead, but we believe that building AI-first mobile & web application is the future of product development. And our vision is to encode the ability of a mobile & web application to automatically morph to user behaviors.

Who is in your team – where are you all from and what backgrounds do you have?

The core team is composed of Ciprian Borodescu – Co-founder & CEO, Alexandra Anghel – Co-founder and CTO, Dan Serban – Big Data Engineer, Mihai Pîrvu – Machine Learning Engineer, Alexandru Barbulescu – Software Engineer and Ruxandra Burtica – Tech Advisor on ML.

Althought a technical person, Alexandra has entrepreneurship experience by founding Appticles.com – a suite of mobile tools for Web developers. Before starting Appticles, she owned an outsourcing company.

Alexandra is also co-founder of Codette, a community for women interested in IT&C. Codette promotes education at all levels and create opportunities for women to fulfill their potential through workshops, meetups, conferences, hackatons and grants.

Dan Serban is a data platform architect, Cassandra data modeling expert, passionate about Apache Spark and building machine learning systems that work at scale. He’s been working with Apache Spark in production deployments since Spark 1.3 and I have always pushed the limits of Spark Streaming, Spark ML, Kafka, and Cassandra in terms of scale and functionality.

We’re fortunate to have Ruxandra Burtica as a technical advisor on ML. She’s Computer Scientist at Adobe Romania and previously founded CloudHero (a docker cloud infrastructure provider focused on delivering container hosting as a service). She was one of the early software engineers at UberVu (a data processing pipeline, in order to process and build analytics in real-time, based on the data stream ingested from the social platforms), later acquired by Hootsuite.

What challenge have you selected for the EDI incubation programme and why did you choose it?

We’re perfectly align with the “EDI-2018-4-JOT_2. Sentimental analysis in consumer journey” challenge and we want to take that even further into actually building a scalable and global platform that’s helping businesses integrate AI-capabilities in their products or activities.

Through our partnership with Google DNI and now the partnership with EDI we strongly believe that we’re on the right track to executing this strategy and building a global Big Data company with its roots in EU.

What are you most excited about taking part in the incubation programme?

The end goal is to build MorphL as a scalable AI/ML platform capable of AI-enhancing the User Experiences in Digital Products and we believe that we perfectly suit EDI’s mission of building EU Big Data companies in with global impact.

Let’s close with something positive – what do you think your group has that is unique to offer the big data ecosystem in Europe? 

As Kai-Fu Lee, former Head of Google China, said: “We’ve transitioned out of an era of discovery—when the person who makes the discovery has a huge edge—and into an era of implementation. The algorithms for AI are pretty well known to many practitioners. What matters now is speed, execution, capital, and access to a large amount of data.”

In that sense, I think we have the potential to be at the right time and facilitated by EDI, we’re definitely in the pole position to massively contribute to the big data ecosystem in Europe.

Sounds interesting? You could join EDI and grow your business too, just like MorphL!

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Applications close on Wednesday 19 June, 12 (noon) CEST

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