By Riley Kaminer
Ideation plays a core role in the startup founders’ journey. It all starts with an idea – and early stage funding often relies almost exclusively on that idea.
For some, these ideas come from thin air. But one South Florida founder is developing a data-driven, tech-powered solution for people looking for a way to methodically find startup inspiration.
Meet Elijah Buford and Paperade, an artificial intelligence-powered tool that enables users to leverage the power of academic research to find the next big idea for their startup.
Users can enter in a few keywords or select a category, and Paperade will return a list of research papers that discuss topics relevant to the search term. The system also reads either the paper’s abstract or the entire paper itself to provide users with commercial use cases based off of that research.
Paperade’s database currently contains around 100 million research papers. Buford told Refresh Miami that much of the content currently on the platform is scientific or medical in nature, considering the large amount of papers on those subjects. But in general, Paperade’s aim is to include a diverse mix of content that runs the gamut from sociology to business to computer science and beyond.
For Buford, building Paperade has been an exercise in merging and applying his diverse passions. “I’ve always been interested in academia and academic research,” he said. “And I’ve been an AI nerd for at least the past year, if not longer.” But the specific catalyst that inspired Buford to develop Paperade was a Wharton journal article about how many startups had been the result of academic research and through technology transfer.
“I was just fascinated by that,” Buford said of the research. “And then I thought, who’s solving this right now with AI? And I couldn’t find any companies or entrepreneurs that were really doing that, so I decided to start the company myself.”
The platform is mostly B2C at the moment, with plans starting at $9.99 a month for 50 startup ideas. Buford signaled that Paperade will launch a B2B platform in early Q2. Already, the startup has received some significant traction, largely thanks to rising to #2 in Product Hunt’s AI category. The company has amassed over 60 users and $800 in monthly recurring revenue after having launched their platform last month.
Currently, Buford is a one-person team, plus five advisors that include researchers at the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins. Buford is additionally supported by team members of AI Squared, a data science company that enables businesses to integrate AI and machine learning tools into their applications.
Buford has been based in South Florida for the last three years. Having grown up between Wellington and Jacksonville, he said he feels at home in Miami. “It’s great being a startup in South Florida because we’re on the verge of some really cool stuff happening,” he said, specifically underscoring the expansion of our local VC footprint. Buford has fundraising on his mind, with imminent plans to raise a seed round. On top of founding Paperade, he is an investor at VU Venture Partners.
Looking forward, Buford said that he is excited by the prospect of Paperade providing the inspiration for a unicorn. “I can’t wait to see the innovations that will come out of Paperade in the next 5-10 years.” Between now and then though, he has his sights set on further developing the product, including plans to provide additional information about commercial use cases, including risk assessments and market insights.
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