I have been a fan of eGrabber for some time. It began back when I started the blog, The Recruiters Lounge, and has continued since (In full disclosure: eGrabber has sponsored “The Recruiters Lounge” in the past). I spoke with eGrabber CEO, Chandra Bodapati, the other day and was elated to know that eGrabber had scored another patent. Wow! 5 in a row. I asked him if I could interview him about how he keeps scoring these patents and the resulting interview is below.
J: Congrats on another patent!
C: Thank you Jim. This is our 5th Patent. I am thrilled. These patents showcase eGrabber as an innovating company.
J: What exactly is your patent about?
C: The patent is for our method of flagging duplicates in a common sense manner. Our software has the intelligence to look for duplicates the way humans do and flag records that are close enough to be called duplicates. It accounts for nick names, spelling mistakes, pronunciation goofs, company abbreviations, short forms, and more. Many times data of the same person can come from different sources. For example, someone maybe known as Liz Gooden, but appear as Elizabeth Gooden elsewhere. Common sense tells us that these both likely are the same people.
At eGrabber we try to incorporate into tools, methodologies and best practices used by of experts. Our tools then enable our users to perform at near expert level.
J: How does it work in comparison to other sourcing tools out there?
C: Commercially available sourcing tools like applicant tracking systems and other tools only flag duplicates that are an exact match. They continue to treat Liz and Elizabeth as different people. If our common sense duplicate matching logic is integrated into ATS & CRMs, recruiters will be able to type in a nick name, approximate spelling, or a company short form and find matching records.
Example – They can type “Jim Stroud” and get a record that is coded as “James Stroud”;
Example – They can type in “IBM” and get records that are even coded with “International Business Machines”
A more advanced matching example our methodology handles is where it would match
“Chandra Bodapati of eGrabber” in one list, with ” Chandra@egrabber.com<mailto:Chandra@egrabber.com> , CEO” in another list and create a composite record “Chandra Bodapati, eGrabber, CEO, Chandra@egrabber.com<mailto:Chandra@egrabber.com> “
Here the software knows how to match a company name with an associated email domain & common email format. This is what humans do. This is what advanced software is expected to do.
J: What impact will this patent have on future eGrabber tools and other sourcing tools on the market?
C: eGrabber tools are considered the smartest and most accurate in the industry. This technology makes our tools even smarter. One can grab a list from LinkedIn or a purchased list and merge more efficiently with lists they have in-house or in other database, despite minor variations. People tend to use their formal names in some places and informal names in other places. eGrabber technology enabled products will be able to flag and process these records as identical. This will be a huge time saver.
We welcome other sourcing tools companies to engage with eGrabber to license our technology, so that they can provide smarter find functionality. They will also be able to provide smarter duplicate checking & more intelligent way of merging lists and databases.
J: I don’t hear about other sourcing tools getting patent awards. Why is that? Is no one else innovating?
C: There is actually lot of innovation happening in the sourcing tools industry. It is just that 90%+ of the innovations are not patentable – even though they look novel and cool, they are usually a combination of other existing innovations.
For the methods that might be patentable, the reasons companies may not choose to patent include:
– Innovations might be specific to their narrow niche & not worth patenting;
– Patenting requires the exact method to be revealed & they might opt to keep the process a trade-secret; we have several methodologies we use, that we have chosen not to patent & keep it a trade secret
– finally, patenting requires spending upfront costs, without knowing for several years what the outcome is. This duplicate checking patent was filed in 2008. It took us 6 years to get it!
J: How does eGrabber decide what to patent?
C: Jim, eGrabber has been in business for 17+ years. The secret of our success is, as a rule, eGrabber never introduces a product that doesn’t have strong Intellectual property as a barrier. Any new product we launch must have a core feature that is patent pending, in addition to leveraging our existing patents & having other secret sauces.
With this conservative IP protection formula, we never had to worry about competition that much. This has also helped our customers have a significant edge over their competitors in doing things our product is best at doing.
J: Are there more patents in the pipeline for eGrabber?
C: Yes, we have 10+ core patentable ideas that we are working on and several new innovative product lines planned. The story will be told over the next several years.
J: Are all these products for the sourcing?
C: I am glad you asked this question. Only 15% – 20% of our business comes from the sourcing and recruiting industry. 80% of our business comes from B2B sales & marketing. We have innovation coming for both sourcers and B2B marketers.
J: Thanks for your time and giving me the heads on this. You know I like to keep up with the latest tech.
C: Jim you have been a fantastic resource for the industry over the last decade I have known you. You have kept us and the sourcing practitioners updated on trends and happenings in the sourcing industry. It is my pleasure.