Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Mindbox: Bought by space technology firm

In my years as a journalist covering technology for financial services, I’ve heard more than one company claim to have a team of "rocket scientists" in the basement developing their products. Some of the companies I’ve covered actually do have such people. I don’t recall MindBox ever making such a claim, but they could certainly do so now.

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. calls itself a provider of essential information services. It has recently signed contracts to provide a space station berthing solution to Japan, a Mars-based meteorological information station to the Canadian Space Agency and a satellite surveillance system to the U.S. military. Definitely rocket scientists.

But they are serious about providing information to U.S. financial services businesses, as well. Earlier this week, the company announced a strategic expansion in the industry, highlighting its recent acquisition of MindBox. MDA already owns Marshall & Swift/Boeckh (MSB) and DataQuick.

MDA now has the pieces to create a compelling offering. Both MSB and DataQuick are information providers (MSB provides building cost information and residential and commercial property valuation while DataQuick provides property information on more than 87 million properties). MindBox provides the brain through its AI-based BRM solution.

How is the MindBox artificial intelligence different from the other decisioning engines on the market? I’m sure they’d be happy to tell you. The big difference I see is that the company now has access to a lot more data to crunch through its engine and access to the insurance market, which will provide a steady stream of cash as the company continues to pound away at the U.S. mortgage market.

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