INTERVIEW WITH BENJAMIN TANG, FOUNDER AND CEO OF EMMFER

quote iconAt the present, almost every industry will require AI to improve
Benjamin Tang, Founder & CEO of Emmfer

On the 3rd of March 2017, EMMFER, a Singapore media start-up specialising in analysing creative content and predicting audience’s reactions, won a 120-day programme with Vikingcubator, including monetary support, mentorship and office space. Today, we are spending a bit of time with Benjamin Tang, Founder and CEO of EMMFER.

HOW WAS IT LIKE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE #PITCHITLIKEAVIKING CHALLENGE?

Getting to know about the #pitchitlikeaVIKING event itself was an intriguing experience for me. It is different from the usual startup/pitching competitions we’d been accustomed to.

CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT EMMFER’S STORY? HOW DID THE IDEA OF CREATING THIS COMPANY CAME ABOUT?

My first business was rather traditional. I did some simple design outsourcing work during my Junior College years. But soon this had to stop to yield time for A-Levels and National Service.

While in the army, I took online classes for entrepreneurship and computer science in the weekends. This was when my interest in technology and start-ups grew. I then decided to pursue entrepreneurship after ORD.

It was then that I started sowing the idea for EMMFER – a video syncing app that enabled users to watch videos together on separate devices. I soon learnt that such a business could not generate revenue directly from primary users. Rather, secondary clients doing media research such as the advertising and media space industry players who wished to collect data on viewers’ reactions on certain videos,

Eventually, after several rounds of discussions and meetings, I discovered some of the most conspicuous problems that infest media research, can be mostly solved by A.I.

WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT THE COMPANY?

Our cultural diversity! Our whole team is also extremely young and dynamic. We are not afraid to try and develop new things to solve problems within the media industry.

WHO IS EMFFER CATERED TO?

Media companies, ad producers or anyone who wants to find out how people are reacting to their visual content.

HOW DOES EMFFER WORK EXACTLY?

We incorporate several technologies such as emotion detection and eye tracking to track what viewers are exactly looking at within every frame of the video content. It will also track how they react to each “elements” existing in the videos. Such viewer reaction data can be utilised to improve the videos in terms of their intention – the kind of emotions they are supposed to trigger, or be used to tailor marketing budgets according to how the different demographic groups react to the concerned video.

A.I. technology comes in when we use the above data to train the computer to predict, without showing the video to an actual human viewer, the kind of reactions your target audience should make.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS VICTORY?

Emmfer had joined countless competitions, in all of which we had narrowly missed victory. We didn’t really expect much for this one either. So, we are partly happy, but mostly surreal.

WHAT DO YOU AIM TO ACHIEVE AFTER THE 120 DAYS PROGRAMME?

Right now, we’re still trying to create something that really fits the need of media companies.

We have met with many media and advertising firms before, but we hope that working closely with a large media group like NHST can help us focus on the right problems and refine our solution further to create something valuable.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE INDUSTRY EVOLVING?

A.I. will play an even greater importance. At the present, almost every industry will require A.I to improve.

Also, advertisements are losing their potency day by day, and companies will need to maintain their relevance by shifting to inform and entertain their target customers. Online reputation, in this sense, will become the most powerful means of advertising, and social media will continue to grow in importance in this aspect.

WHERE DO YOU SEE EMMFER IN 5 YEARS?

Most businesses in the startup scene were created just to build a single product for a single problem, but that excludes us. I see Emmfer as a technology company. Our goal is, rather than be trapped in a single mindset, to really push the limits of technology to adapt with new innovations in the vibrantly changing world.

TO CONCLUDE

At Vikingcubator, we can’t wait to see how EMMFER will help shape the future of the media world. We wish Benjamin all the best and will continue posting updates regarding EMMFER’s work with NHST.

quote iconComputers themselves, and software yet to be developed will revolutionise the way we learn
Steve Jobs