US government scientist joins UK emotion recognition firm Realeyes

Jeff Ryan joins the emotion analytics business, an Oxford University spinout which calculates how people feel when they watch videos, to lead the data science team in the role of chief data scientist.

Prior to joining the British firm, which will see him relocate from New York to the Realeyes office in Budapest, he held the post of senior data science leader at the US Securities and Exchange Commission. 

While at the SEC, the American government’s financial regulation body, Ryan used machine-learning techniques to examine risk of hedge funds. Meanwhile, demonstrating a similar sector transition, the British government has appointed VC investor Eileen Burbidge as the special envoy of tech – a newly created role.

“Emotion measurement is, undoubtedly, the new frontier not only in advertising research, but consumer analytics in general,” said Ryan, whose appointment comes after the company raised €3.6m in April. “So it was very appealing to join Realeyes, who is leading progress in this space.

“I’m looking forward to helping more brands understand and harness a science that can help them run more compelling video initiatives and achieve greater cut-through with audiences.”

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In his role, Ryan will report to CPO Martin Salo and coordinate projects to determine how data science can be integrated into Realeyes services. He’ll also raise awareness of emotion recognition tech and how it can be used to support consumer analytics.

Back in December, Realeyes found the ten most compelling Christmas ads from high street retailers, which saw John Lewis, Harvey Nichols and the Post Office come out on top.

“Getting the calibre of someone like Jeff from such an auspicious entity as a US government agency is testament to the incredibly dynamic and appealing arena that emotion analytics has become,” said Mihkel Jäätma, Realeyes’ CEO.

“Our space continues to attract some of the world’s smartest people and his experience in cutting-edge data science ultimately means we’ll help our clients make better marketing decision, particularly in digital video.”

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