New funding set to accelerate the growth plans of pioneering Norwich software development firm

Ben Taylor of Future50 firm Rainbird.
Photo by Simon Finlay. Ben Taylor of Future50 firm Rainbird. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
5:05 PM

A pioneering software development company is looking to accelerate its growth potential after securing £330,000 of business angel investment.

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RainBird Technologies has secured the funding from a consortium of 12 investors to develop the software which is based around easy to access ‘knowledge databases’.

In simple terms, the software has the potential to respond interactively to questions and answers on any subject. Potential applications include being used as a diagnostic tool in the medical, plant science, or even legal sectors, as well as by businesses, universities and schools.

Another idea being looked at is for the software to help match wine with food shopping trolley choices.

Based on the principle of inference, the technology connects nuggets of data in order to draw conclusions and make recommendations. In a similar way to a medical diagnosis website may work, RainBird allows any type of organisation or business to capture information and publish it as a consultative website or use it in their own applications. It also allows developers to produce their own software using its framework.

Founded by computer scientist Ben Taylor and technology entrepreneur and investor James Duez, RainBird, which is now valued at more than £1m, has been in closed beta for the past six months with 30 companies and individuals, ranging from multi-national organisations working on hardware installations to small businesses and hobbyists, trialling the software. RainBird will shortly be launching its open beta stage.

The investment will allow the EDP Future 50 company to accelerate its growth and bring the software to market more quickly.

Mr Taylor said: “This investment will allow us to reach open beta in the next few weeks which is extremely exciting. The developments we are making to the software mean that during open beta RainBird will enable people to drag, drop and design knowledge bases without any programming skills whatsoever. Without RainBird, to achieve the same result you would need a vast range of skilled professionals at your disposal as well as an enormous budget. RainBird allows anyone who has knowledge they wish to share or utilise to create a smart, interactive website.”

Once it enters the market, the majority of RainBird users will be able to use it free, as long as they are prepared to share their knowledge with others. The firm believes this offers a revolutionary opportunity for schools, universities, charities and social enterprises.

Mr Duez said: “Of our 12 investors, 10 are from the local area. The majority have a keen interest in technology and have co-invested with me in the past. But for us, it’s not just about bringing money in: we look for investors who are excited about the opportunities available.”

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