Mozenda Inc.

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January 13, 2014 Issue

The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information


UI Based Web Data Collection Tool

Interview with:
Brett Haskins

About Mozenda
In 2007, the Mozenda founders set out to solve the problem of how to quickly and easily extract information from the web. Several months later the first version of the Mozenda Web Agent Builder was born. The founders philosophy when creating the Mozenda software was that it needed to be something that anyone could use, not just a programmer in the IT department. Today, the Mozenda Web Agent Builder is one of the most deployed UI based data collection tools on the market.

“It’s simply not efficient or cost effective to gather high volumes of web data in any other way. We add a capability to companies that currently they do not have or that does not exist. We help companies be more competitive.” – Brett Haskins

Technology-Web Data Extraction

Mozenda Inc.
616 E Technology Ave
Building B-2300
Orem, UT 84097



Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – January 13, 2014


CEOCFO:Mr. Haskins, what was the vision when you created Mozenda?

Mr. Haskins: When we first started Mozenda, we noticed that more and more companies were using the Internet to find competitive and strategic data; data that they could utilize in their business process. The problem is that the Internet does not provide data in a way that is readily consumable. It is a tedious process for anyone who wants to utilize data from the web to actually get it into a consumable database format. We saw this problem and we knew that everyone was copying and pasting or having someone in IT write scripts to go out and gather web data. We knew that if we could make the task of collecting and formatting web data simple, and enable any person to use it, we could succeed. 


CEOCFO: What have you developed? What is the product today?

Mr. Haskins: The product today is called the Mozenda Web Agent Builder. It is a UI based PC application that enables anyone to quickly build what is called a web agent that captures text, images, and files across any number of web pages. The best use for our software is to capture large data sets on single sites. Mozenda agents run in a highly efficient cloud computing environment which ensures our customer’s jobs run and finish in a timely manner. When an agent runs, it follows a set of instructions which tell it how to navigate a site and what text inputs  to grab. As the agent grabs the text, it places it into highly organized data tables, which our customers have complete control over. For example, let’s say I want to monitor a competitor’s price for certain products they are advertising. In addition to the price, I’m interested in the title of the product, the star rating of their product, description, model number and units available. Without Mozenda, capturing that information across hundreds or thousands of products  is very difficult. With our software, you simply point and click on the text elements of a few sample pages, then instruct the agent to run across single or multiple categories. The result is a data table that can be exported in CSV format or accessed as XML through our API.


CEOCFO: What were some of the technical challenges in putting this together?

Mr. Haskins: The technical challenge was using a browser to do it, the technical advantage is that we use a browser to do it. Everyone knows how to use a web browser. That is the frame of reference we adopted initially. What we needed to do was simulate the web environment within our product and then enable customers to select elements on the page from within our tool. Enabling a browser to do everything we needed it to do was definitely the biggest technical challenge.


CEOCFO: Sounds like a useful tool. Who is using your service today? Is there a common thread among companies?

Mr. Haskins: There are a few common threads but what is really interesting is the wide range of titles we see using the software. We have everyone from CEO’s to Students using the product and any title you can imagine in between. Over the last year our big push has been to add more features for Enterprise clients which are primarily interested in Business Intelligence and Competitive Intelligence. These are two of the most common uses of Mozenda customers. 


CEOCFO: In the competitive landscape, are there other offerings that either are similar or appear similar?

Mr. Haskins: There are a handful of offerings out there and new ones popping up all the time. I think that we were really the first ones to come out with this UI-based approach, using a web browser. Since we launched in 2007 we’ve probably seen four or five other companies that have similar or competitive offerings. We were not the first. There were a few companies out there before we got into the market that were successful in providing data extraction services based on internally developed tools. We were really the first ones to bring a tool to market that could be used by the masses.


CEOCFO: Would you provide a bit more detail about how your customers make use of the data?

Mr. Haskins: Most customers consume web data in one of two ways. Either they use the information they collect for competitive or intelligence purposes, or they use our software to automate web based functions. Retailers, investment banks, consulting firms, and many others use the product for strategic or competitive purposes. This means they have found data on the web that gives them some new insight into making their business more productive or profitable and use Mozenda to gather that data in quantity and on a schedule so it can be utilized in a business process. Customers using the product to automate web functions use the product to filter information, fill out forms, request information, search based on criteria, access online data tables, etc.


CEOCFO: Is it all in one database and how do you get what you want later?

Mr. Haskins: Mozenda stores the data in an online database that our customers have access to 24/7. They can export their data in CSV, TSV, or XML formats, publish their data to FTP or as an RSS feed, or simply pull their data through the Mozenda REST API. 


CEOCFO: How do people find Mozenda?

Mr. Haskins: Most people find out about us online. We have a pretty large footprint online between adwords and SEO. Increasingly though, we are getting a lot of referrals from existing and previous customers as well as return customers. As a SaaS company, we believe we need to be accessible online. We can be found online, purchased online, an account can be set up online, and customers can be trained online. We feel this is the most convenient way to interact with customers. 


CEOCFO: How is business?

Mr. Haskins: Very good. Our customer base is growing rapidly. We just implemented a free product that is a “pay-as-you-grow” product, so you can get in and use our product for free and then if you need more capacity, if you need to extract more information, then you can pay as you grow. That has been received very well. We are now adding about 1,500 accounts a month.


CEOCFO: Your site lists several different reasons to use Mozenda. All seem quite reasonable and necessary. Do you envision a day when Mozenda might be a standard tool?

Mr. Haskins: The people who have found out about it and use it believe that today. It’s simply not efficient or cost effective to gather high volumes of web data in any other way. We are seeing most of our customers expanding with the tool, expanding their user base with the tool, and training more and more of their employees on how to use it. Universities are catching on. We have hundreds of implementations in universities with departments and students starting to learn how to use it. With the addition of a Free Account, there is no reason for someone not to use it. Even large enterprises are catching on and training employees on how to use it. So much of what people do is either done on the web or with web-based applications that this tool is a perfect fit for anyone.


CEOCFO: Put it all together for our readers, why Mozenda?

Mr. Haskins: The real case for Mozenda is cost, efficiency and capability. Those three things and I’ll talk briefly about each. From a cost perspective, if you have employees spending their time trying to collect information from the web by writing scripts or copying and pasting, that employee is wasting time and costing the company too much money. Another cost that many companies have is they are outsourcing this effort. If you think about the volumes of data that people collect each day from the web, many companies are outsourcing this type of collection of data to offshore companies and using dozens of physical bodies to either copy and paste or write primitive scripts that are prone to break and prone to be problematic. It is just simply not efficient or cost effective to manage those efforts. We can replace 12-15 script writers with a single person using our tool. In terms of efficiency, what we do for people is allow them to take the unstructured information that’s in web applications and on websites and actually put those data inputs into a format that can be used with their other systems and programs. By providing data in a CSV format or a XML format, or through an API, our customers can now utilize this data as if it was data that originated from within their company.


Capability-wise, there exist certain information inputs on the web that cannot be obtained any other way than through finding them on the Internet. Finding them, collecting them, formatting them, and utilizing that information or analyzing that data is a competitive advantage for any company. We add a capability to companies that currently they do not have or that does not exist. We help companies be more competitive.


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