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1. What is Jodange?

Jodange is a Yonkers, NY-based startup that provides decision-makers with analytical tools that extract opinions and sentiments from any online content. After gathering a wide range of up-to-date texts related to a user’s query, Jodange utilizes semantic technologies to perform analysis; more specifically, Jodange distinguishes between opinions and facts; classifies each opinion as negative, neutral or positive; and then evaluates the overall bias of each author. In addition, Jodange identifies which authors have helped to set trends and which currently follow.

As stated on the company’s website, their goal in designing these software applications is to “develop business applications that drive tangible value by allowing knowledge workers to better understand who is influencing their customers, competitors and marketplace in an environment where information continues to originate from an exploding number of information sources.” This is precisely what they’ve done with “Top of Mind” “The World’s First Opinion Utility”, which is now being hailed as “as one of the most exciting technologies in the next generation of knowledge management.”

Top of Mind (TOM) is an indispensable suite of opinion discovery tools empowering you to:
  • Analyze who is saying what about the topics most relevant to you;
  • Learn what opinion leaders and early adopters are thinking collectively or independently; and
  • Make better decisions by better understanding the key influencers driving your marketplace.

Highly specific questions like “How positive was Ben Bernanke during the week of November 17?” and “What is the oil industry’s view of IP protection?” can be answered better by Jodange’s applications than by other search engines that rely primarily on keywords.

Jodange offers several other utilities as well, such as the Opinion Utility for Publishers, Gadgets (which update users throughout the day, keeping them in touch with new opinions as they are published), and an Opinion Feed.

2. How was Jodange created? Can you describe the relationships and collaborative efforts that were involved in bringing the technology to market?

Jodange was born when serial entrepreneur Larry Levy met Claire Cardie, professor of Computational Linguistics at Cornell University, NY. In early 2007, Levy and Cardie co-founded Jodange. Leveraging Cornell's significant investment in sentiment analytics, and drawing on research that Cardie and her students had conducted, Jodange developed a technology to extract and rank opinions from any online content.

Jodange engages in two-way collaboration with Professor Cardie’s natural language processing lab at Cornell. Jodange’s engineers work to scale the text processing algorithms used at Cornell up to commercially viable capabilities. In doing so, they encounter challenges that often suggest new research problems for Cardie and her students. The lab then performs the basic research into solutions which can be adopted by the Jodange team as needed. Jodange also collaborates with Cornell on National Science Foundation-sponsored research (see question 4). By working in this way, they created the world's first Opinion Utility. Then, in January 2008, Jodange launched its first product—Top of Mind—at the Demo ’08 conference in Palm Desert, CA.

Initial funding came from CEO Larry Levy (ex-CEO of Semagix and Protégé), Canadian software entrepreneur Dennis Bennie, and private investor, Denis O'Leary (previously CIO and head of Lab Morgan at JPMC). By 2008, the Company had already received capital from angel investors and was seeking its first round from institutions. In April 2009, the company received $1.2 million in investments.

3. Would you briefly describe Jodange’s business plan?

Currently, a free 30-day trial of Jodange’s TOM utility and topic-specific iGoogle gadgets are available on the company website, but CEO Larry Levy plans to offer a subscription service to companies seeking to “understand who’s saying what about their market, their competitors, their company, and the executives.”

Jodange’s business plan focuses on two target markets: media/intelligence monitoring and online publishing. For both markets, the products are software services. For the monitoring market, the Top of Mind service caters to analysts who need to have a clear view on all the elements impacting their corporate strategy. Access to the Opinion Utility™ is through a browser-based application or API. The cost of setting up a new customer is minimal and only involves topic and information source definition, most of which is self-explanatory with a little help from Jodange. Pricing is a subscription model and is based on the number of users and number of topics that customers would like to track. Differing pricing models are offered for corporate users and channel partners.

For the publishing market, the Publisher’s Utility fosters engagement and loyalty with sentiment analytics that enhance a customer’s online experience, extend a visitor’s time on site, and reuse underutilized content such as “user comments” by exposing them alongside relevant articles. The business model involves either subscription pricing (where the publisher can insert its own sponsorship or advertising into the opinion widgets) or ad support (where Jodange serves up advertising and the resulting revenue is shared with the publisher). The online publisher widgets are also software services that require a minimum of integration.

4. What is the current status of Jodange? In what publicly disclosed research and development efforts has Jodange recently been engaged?

In December 2008, Jodange received a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Science Foundation. This award supports the company's research to use statistical modeling methods to better determine whether, and under what conditions, automatically extracted opinions and opinion holders can be used to predict business outcomes.

Jodange has already been experimenting with predictive analysis on stocks. The technology can track the news and opinion on a given company and map the changing tone to changes in market value. Ultimately, the algorithms may be able to detect the leading indicators of market or pricing shifts. Further, you could identify those opinion makers whose expressions have the most effect, positively and negatively, on company reputation or stick movements.

Jodange is currently working on a new algorithm that could use opinion data to predict future developments, such as forecasting the impact of newspaper editorials on a company’s stock price.

Jodange has one patent pending that covers the technology for identifying opinions, opinion holders, and opinion topics. This year, two more patents will be filed in related areas.

5. Who is on the Jodange team?

Larry Levy – Co-Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer
Claire Cardie, PhD – Co-Founder and Chief Scientist
David Pierce, PhD – Chief Technical Officer
Doron Mutsafi – Vice President – Engineering
Oran Leiba – Vice President – Application Development
Veselin Stoyanov – Senior Engineer
Chia-Wei (Terry) Wu – Senior Software Developer
Dennis Bennie – Director
Nick Grewal – Director

6. How was Jodange named?

The name Jodange is taken from the first syllables of each of CEO Larry Levy’s children’s names – Joshua, Daniel, and Genna. As such, it is pronounced – /jō'danj/.