A Kiwi wife and husband team will in a few days pitch their business plan to Silicon Valley's biggest investors.

Alyona Medelyan and Nathan Holmberg, founders of customer insight company Thematic, were accepted into one of the world's most exclusive startup accelerator programmes, Y Combinator, and are already attracting significant interest - Y Combinator counts itself as one of their clients.

"It's fantastic recognition because less than 2 per cent of companies get selected to participate in Y Combinator. But I think more importantly it's the networks here in the US and the exposure to people who have built billion dollar companies," Medelyan said.

On August 20, the couple will be pitching to some 500 top Silicon Valley venture capitalists.


"Nobody knows how it's going to go or how much demand there's going to be for the companies - who's likely to be the 'hot' company out of the batch," she said.

Medelyan was optimistic Thematic could be in for a "sizeable investment".

Regardless, the company was already profitable with a customer base that included
Sky TV, Fairfax Media and AMP Insurance in New Zealand, as well as American payment provider Stripe and Fortune 500 company Manpower Group.

Thematic is an automated text analytics system that takes the leg-work out of analysing survey data.

"Pretty much everyone will have at some point received a survey from a company asking how well did they do or would they recommend their services," Medelyan said.

"The insights into what people need and what companies can do to outperform their competitors are really invaluable because today companies compete on customer experience, it's not all about who has the better product."

Thematic specialised in analysis of "free text" responses to targeted questions, which are the hardest to analyse.

"That's when the customer, in their own words, says, for example, that the customer service person was very friendly or the support staff were great. So they could be using very different phrases but we are able to link these together with Thematic."

Medelyan has a PHD in natural language processing and machine learning, while her husband and business partner, Holmberg, quit his job as chief architect for leading music software company Serato once the couple realised the technology's potential.