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$1.5M in pre-seed money will help high-tech firm combine AI and journalism

Applied XL is a project of Newlab in the Brooklyn Navy Yard

May 5, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Applied XL, a business-to-business information company that describes itself as “tracking the health of people, places and the planet,” has announced the acquisition of $1.5 million of pre-seed money from Tuesday Capital and a team of other investment companies.

The funding will help Applied XL continue to develop its AI-powered information center, which gathers data and generates reports that help professionals.

Its first project, slated to go online this summer, will tackle health-related issues such as clinical trials, pharmaceutical industry regulation and healthcare policy.

Applied XL was launched in early 2020 by former Wall Street Journal R&D chief Francesco Marconi as CEO, Newlab co-founder Scott Cohen as chairman, and Erin Riglin, who previously served as automation editor at the Wall Street Journal, as chief technology officer. Newlab, described as a multi-disciplinary technology center, is headquartered at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

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Applied XL transforms reports, guidelines, articles and other forms of text data into self-generated alerts that can help industry decision-makers. The system monitors data using custom algorithms rooted in editorial principles, which are constantly calibrated and tuned by experts.

“Our mission is to democratize information in complex domains such as life sciences where intelligence is typically gated and not widely accessible through intuitive platforms,” said Marconi, who had also co-led the development of the Associated Press’ AI efforts and wrote the recently published book, Newsmakers: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Journalism.

“To accomplish this, we are building a highly reliable information system powered by editorial algorithms that combine the precision of data science with the high standards of journalism.”

A colorful lounge inside Newlab at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Photo by Spencer Lowell

Applied XL was formed through the Newlab Venture Studio, which builds new businesses that solve the world’s most complex challenges with proprietary technology. It pairs founders with Newlab’s interdisciplinary team and global network.

“The Newlab Venture Studio program taps industry-leading experts — some of the most innovative thinkers on the planet — to found new companies from within Newlab,” said Shaun Stewart, CEO of Newlab. “We work closely with our partners to hone a vision for new companies that not only promise to be successful businesses, but also aim to address major gaps faced across industries.

“Applied XL, one of the two ventures launched in 2020 as part of the Newlab’s Venture Studio, is a testament to the efficacy of our model, the brilliant vision of its founder Francesco Marconi, and the power of collaborative innovation in addressing the world’s biggest challenges,” he said.

“Data is the new oil, and the team at Applied XL have figured out how to identify, extract and leverage one of the most valuable commodities in the world,” said Prashant Fonseka, partner at Tuesday Capital.

Applied XL is developing its first product, tailored to the life science industry, to be launched this summer. Applied XL will address this need by mining data on clinical trials, pharmaceutical industry regulation and healthcare policy, and automating the generation of alerts and reports.

Applied XL will initially work with select partners, including professionals working in strategy functions at biotech and pharma companies. It will also open its data platform to life-science experts including scientists and journalists, enabling them to access data and calibrate machine-driven insights.

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