Next phase of growth signalled by innovative Bath music software firm The Filter as new CEO gets on board

Bath-based specialist software developer The Filter, which was co-founded by musician and entrepreneur Peter Gabriel, is predicting its next phase of innovation after appointing a new CEO.

The firm, which provides leading-edge machine learning software to the media and retail sectors, said the appointment of Neil Morris was a statement of intent as it continues to expand. 

Neil, pictured, has a wealth of experience in both sectors, including senior positions at the BBC, UKTV and the WiggleCRC online retail group.

The Filter, based in The Guild innovation hub, has recently entered the retail sector, having established itself as one of the market leaders of personalisation and machine learning in the media sector over the past eight years, with customers such as BT TV, UKTV and Australia’s SBS.

Ex-Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel, whose Real World recording studio and innovative music and entertainment business is based at Box, launched the firm after being introduced to the physicist and entrepreneur Martin Hopkins.

He had created an application to manage his extensive music collection, by ‘learning’ about his tastes and serving up personalised playlists and recommendations. They joined with Bath-based serial software and tech entrepreneur Rhett Ryder to form The Filter.

Today the firm is focused on using technology to make retail, video and music stores both entertaining and fulfilling by providing customers with unique experiences, prompting them to discover more, engage more and spend more.

Peter Gabriel and Martin Hopkins remain involved as non-executive directors along with Mike Large, who was Real World’s first employee in 1986 and was part of the founding team of the groundbreaking white-label music service company OD2 (On Demand Distribution) with Bath venture capitalist Charles Grimsdale and Peter Gabriel.

Martin Hopkins said: “We’re delighted to have someone with Neil’s pedigree in the media and online retail sectors and experience at board level to lead The Filter through its next, exciting growth phase.” 

Neil joins from online sports retail specialist WiggleCRC, where he was marketing director. Before that he co-founded and grew pioneering digital consultancy Digital Public and was on the board of international marcomms company The Engine Group. 

Neil said: “For more than 10 years now The Filter has been at the leading edge of developing machine learning approaches to support personalisation for retailers and media businesses.

“I’m thrilled to be joining at this exciting time in the company’s history and ready to lead the talented team to new success. The kind of transformation that The Filter can bring to online retail and media businesses is already making us a key partner to a range of high-growth players.”   

The Filter has spent 14 years developing and refining a machine-learning approach to recommendations.

The initial focus was on a music playlisting tool to integrate with early generation iPods.

From there, The Filter devised machine learning solutions to others within the media sector and secured significant contracts with the likes of Nokia, BT and UK TV. And in 2015 the pioneering technology was extended to eCommerce, with The Filter’s technology and machine learning capability being perfect for delivering personalised digital experiences for online shoppers.

Customers include broadcasters in Australia, the USA and Europe, as well as a range of international retailers in fashion, technology, entertainment, construction and other sectors.

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