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From Intern to Venture-Backed Entrepreneur With a Little Help From Big Data

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This story appears in the April 2012 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

What it is

Think of Kaggle as The Amazing Race for brainiacs. The site manages competitions in which statisticians, scientists, academics and other whizzes compete to uncover the best predictive modeling--also called data mining--to solve specific challenges. The winner receives a money prize in return for intellectual property rights to the model. Kaggle has helped an insurance company find out which drivers are more likely to crash a car, worked with a financial services company to gauge default risks for particular customers and figured out how to rate chess players.

How it started

Through an internship at The Economist magazine, founder Anthony Goldbloom was able to interview chief information officers about the role of "big data." The biggest complaint he heard was that predictive modeling, a top priority for large firms, was confusing, expensive and came with no guarantee of accuracy.

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