Optus’ data mining start-up venture revealed

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Exclusive: To be led by ex-head of content.

Optus’ former head of content and TV Paul Rybicki will front the local operations of a mysterious “start-up” focused on mining “big sets” of telco, mobility, and video data.

Rybicki – who was at one time head of insights and data science at Foxtel – was revealed last month to have vacated his head of content role at Optus after almost five years.

However, it had only been known that he was being appointed “country head for a new Singtel venture in Australia”.

iTnews can now reveal that venture is a corporate data science “start-up” with serious backing by Singtel and Optus, and a remit to work with some of the telco’s “corporate clients”.

Rybicki is now adding to the Australian team, which he said would “be part of a regional team that’s about 70 to 80 people today”.

“We are looking at mining telco and other mobility data for outcomes for our clients,” he said in a video quietly posted to Youtube on March 23.

“We’re also looking at video and content analytics and personalisation.”

The start-up is adding an associate director of data science consulting as well as a big data consultant to its Australian operations.

The advertisements indicate the venture is at a significantly advanced stage in piecing together its technology foundations.

“In the exciting and dynamic space of data, AI, machine learning and analytics, you will be part of a start-up that is backed by major telco players here in Australia and across Asia Pacific,” both recruitment ads say.

“A … proven software stack has been developed to monetise and the business is growing at a fast pace.”

That stack appears to include architectural pieces like Hadoop and Cloudera backing onto AWS resources.

Rybicki said the start-up – which he did not name – is leveraging existing Optus infrastructure “as well as many of their corporate clients”.

“We’re already well on our way,” he said.

Those set to join the local team would be involved in “helping to define the value proposition and business model and success for us as a business,” Rybicki added.

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