FEATURE28 May 2019

The buzz on the street

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Founder and CEO of Streetbees Tugce Bulut talks to Jane Bainbridge about algorithms, data collection and monitoring the mood of the nation via its army of ‘bees’.

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Tugce Bulut started her career as a strategy consultant but, when working with clients, she repeatedly found data quality a problem. So, to meet her need for qualitative insights at scale, she ditched her job and set up artificial intelligence and tech-based market research company Streetbees in 2015.

Research Live: How did you build the technology behind Streetbees?
Tugce Bulut:
The hardest bit was formulating exactly what our clients needed. When I first started, we didn’t build in technology for about nine months. We did it all manually to see if it worked – we used WhatsApp to distribute and Google to analyse the data. We didn’t even have a dashboard.

Initially, every algorithm was being run by a data scientist, whereas today we’ve automated that. We now have 1.2bn data points in the database that we analyse. We built the team of machine-learning researchers, who invent new algorithms, a few years after we started the business.

How has this developed since?
We are training ...