Business intelligence on companies and competitors

We look at how Signal has helped White Star Capital with business intelligence on its companies, competitors and the market as a whole

Christian Hernandez
co-founder and managing partner

Christian Hernandez is the co-founder and managing partner at White Star Capital. We spoke to Christian about his experience working with Signal and using Signal monitor.

The challenge

As a venture capitalist firm with a large and growing portfolio of companies, White Star Capital needed a way to monitor their brands to understand exactly what was being said about them beyond just pure news. With North American and Pan-European brands in their portfolio, they needed access to a wide range of international foreign language news sources and an easy way to translate that content.     

Google Alerts were useful but not scalable; the search terms couldn’t be finely tuned to filter out unnecessary stuff. Dice – a mobile app for gig tickets – is one of White Star’s companies and Google Alerts pulled in any number of irrelevant articles about dice but not Dice. Having a more robust tool for monitoring made logical sense.

“Google Alerts are cute but don’t scale.” – Christian

The solution

Christian’s first interaction with Signal was back during their initial fundraising stage when the co-founders were operating out of a garage in Belsize Park in north-west London. Straightaway Christian could see the value in what the team were building, and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate and replace the inefficient and sometimes ineffective Google Alerts he was using.

Christian became an early customer of Signal. In those initial days, there was some hand-holding from Signal to quickly get White Star Capital up-and-running. The team created the relevant feeds and trained the system to ensure the results were accurate, organising and tagging the relevant content from global sources while excluding anything that wasn’t wanted.

The auto-translation of foreign language content helps Christian to monitor stories local to his European companies and the real-time alerts ensure he’s kept up-to-date with relevant business news and can readily share this with his team members.     

“The Signal team trained the AI to ensure we only get results related to Dice not dice. Signal was easy to implement, is easy to use and offers greater breadth in terms of news sources. Using Signal a daily news roundup email goes out to everyone in the team. – Christian

The results

Having access to a vast range of global data sources through the Signal platform has brought about some welcome, but unexpected results for White Star Capital. For example, an alert came through about one of their investments featured in a patent journal. They didn’t know the company had applied for a new patent so forwarded the alert to the CEO to find out that he also didn’t know about it. As a result of this discovery, Christian is now using Signal to actively track patents applied for by competitors.  

During a recent round of fundraising, White Star Capital used Signal to email out a summary of related news during a crucial 48-hour period.

The access to unlimited content, ease of which new searches can be set-up and managed with real-time email alerts enables the team at White Star Capital to stay informed and act quickly on that information. Christian estimates that the team are currently utilising about 25% of the system and there’s even more value they can get out of the Signal platform.

“Signal is a business intelligence tool that enables you to track your companies, competitors and the market as a whole. Simple alerts make it easy to track and work smarter knowing what’s happening in the market. The level of access to relevant information is unprecedented. Information is filterable and actionable.” – Christian

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About White Star Capital
White Star Capital are a VC firm that have been helping exceptional entrepreneurs build successful technology businesses in Europe and North America for the last 10 years. White Star Capital has an impressive investment portfolio of companies including BrandProject, digg, Freshly, Gymtrack, Hole 19, KeyMe and MUBI.

About Christian Hernandez
Christian Hernandez co-founded White Star Capital in 2007. Prior to starting White Star, Christian worked at Facebook and led the international expansion of the company’s Business Development, Platform and Developer Network groups. Christian has held leadership roles at Google and Microsoft having started his career in technology at MicroStrategy and also serves as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.