Dao2Com promoting business crystal ball

Dao2Com’s software uses the Internet to help companies produce more effective business plans.An Israeli startup known as Dao2Com has developed a software system that it says will deliver reliable intelligence from databases of competitors that will enable companies to make …

Dao2Com’s software uses the Internet to help companies produce more effective business plans.An Israeli startup known as Dao2Com has developed a software system that it says will deliver reliable intelligence from databases of competitors that will enable companies to make more informed business decisions.

This so-called competitive intelligence, or CI, software promoted by Dao2Com scans sources that are likely to include information about a business’ competitors, including those companies’ web sites, news sites that cover them, and chat groups, and tries to predict the moves that those companies will make in the future. The predictions are displayed according to their probability as fodder for the client company in formulating a business plan.

Say a company has already formed a business plan, based on a groundbreaking invention, said Dao2Com chief executive Gabriel Levi. What guarantee does the company have that company X won’t launch an identical product next week and upset all its plans?

If, for example, Microsoft decides today to transfer from technology X to technology Y, the decision will likely be relayed by several signs that can be found on the Internet. These signs could include employment ads on manpower placement sites, presentations by Microsoft employees in various forums and comments by employees in various publications. Users of the software define the questions they want answered, along with the importance assigned to each source, that can vary from a single notation to a full press release, and get a forecast.

“Our goal isn’t to replace a business analyst; we want to provide a tool that will mimic an analyst’s information search process,” Levi said. “We let the customer determine whether these signs justify a given conclusion.”

To prove that is product is practical, the company has put a search mechanism on its web site purporting to locate the geographic route taken by Osama bin Laden. The results display a hypothetical location and the source that led the query to settle on that location. One of the fields listed Utah. Clicking on that link led to a news story describing the route of U.S. citizen John Walker, suspected of cooperating with Al Qaeda. Several lines later, the writers of the story about Walker note a number of legends that arose after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. These include a theory that bin Laden also hid out in Utah for several months.

Another click on the example site’s analysis mechanism gives a relationship tree – a graphic description of the relations between bin Laden and the people in his organization, as gathered from the sources. Most of the rest of the site was still under construction in mid-August.

Another Dao2Com pilot is being implemented at the Israeli branch of the Roche pharmaceutical company, which told the startup it planned to issue a certain drug on a given date using Dao2Com’s system of analysis. Dao2Com is hoping the success of the drug’s release will impress the Switzerland-based parent company.

Dao2Com, based in Bnei Brak, Israel, hopes to complete a financing round from foreign funds by early next year, Levi said.

A $500,000 investment will enable the startup to begin marketing operations on a larger scale, he said. A $3 million investment will enable
Dao2Com to hire more employees and speed development of the next version of the product.

“We recently applied to several Israeli funds, but they want things that already have sales,” Levi said. “On the other hand, in the U.S. and Canada, we had a welcoming response from local funds, and we hope to get an investment from them.”