The Filter

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The Filter
Web address
Commercial? Yes
Type of site
Available in English
Launched October 2006

The Filter is a company providing a recommendation engine for providers of digital content. Founded in 2004, it has ties to musician Peter Gabriel and is based in Bath, UK.


The idea behind The Filter was devised by musician and digital pioneer Peter Gabriel and software entrepreneur Martin Hopkins. Gabriel foresaw that the growth of digital technologies would lead to such large volume of content becoming available that users would need filters to help them find what was relevant to them. In 2004 he was introduced to Hopkins, who had written a piece of software to manage his extensive music collection. The software learned tastes and preferences and utilised artificial intelligence to generate playlists and recommendations. With investment from the founders and from venture capital firm Eden Ventures, they launched Exabre in 2004, and promoted The Filter as a site providing music and movie recommendations directly to consumers.

Although the venture was successful, reaching an average of 800,000 unique visitors per month, in 2009 The Filter modified its business model to licensing the recommendation engine to other businesses. To date, this strategy has proved successful, and the company has secured large contracts, particularly in the US.

Executives and Board of Directors[edit]

Peter Gabriel has been involved in various media, music and technology businesses since 1987, when he founded the Real World Group, comprising Real World Studios, Real World Records, and later Real World Multi Media and Real World Films. In 2000, he was co-founder and board member of OD2 (On Demand Distribution), which became the leading European platform provider for the distribution of online music (acquired in 2004 by Loudeye of Seattle, Washington). In 2005, he acquired Solid State Logic with David Engelke. Gabriel remains an advisor and investor at The Filter.

James Routley was appointed CEO in November 2013, having been involved with the company as an early customer, as a board observer at Eden Ventures and as a consultant. This corresponded with an increased focus on retail personalisation alongside the existing digital media personalisation product.

Founder Martin Hopkins developed The Filter’s recommendation engine with original team member Jon Hobley and remains a Non-Executive Director.

Charles Grimsdale is a Partner and co-founder of venture capital firm Eden Ventures, and Non Executive Director at The Filter.


Since 2009, The Filter has secured contracts tailoring its relevance platform for a number of digital content providers such as Nokia, Dailymotion, BT TV,, Warner Brothers, Vudu,, Fuhu, we7, and Sony Music. In 2014 The Filter has begun offering its personalisation services to online retailers, securing its first contract with Maplin Electronics.


In May 2011 Music Week Magazine nominated the Nokia Gig Finder app (developed by Ovi) as a finalist for its Mobile Music App of the year award. This app utilises The Filter's technology to learn music tastes and recommend the best and most relevant live events happening near the user.

In 2009 The Filter was selected by the UKTI (UK Trade and Investment) for its prestigious Digital Mission to SXSW in Austin, Texas. The CEO was also a panelist for the Collaborative Filtering panel hosted by Digg's Anton Kast.

The company's continued success in building partnerships in the US was rewarded with selection for the Web 2.0 Digital Mission to New York in November.

The Filter was a recipient of the Red Herring 100 Europe 2008 - awarded to the best European tech start-ups, and were also selected to partake in Webmission08. Webmission is a UK initiative backed by Techcrunch, Bebo, Sun Microsystems and Oracle Corporation (among others) that aims to bring the 20 most innovative tech companies that are "ready to do business in the US or potentially attract a US investor."

The Filter has been awarded the OnHollywood 100 Most Disruptive Companies award, and is the only European start-up to receive this prize. The Filter was also chosen as one of only six finalists from over 600 entries in the Popkomm Innovation in Music Awards in October 2008.

Press Coverage[edit]

The Guardian La Times Business Week GigaOm The BBC Washington Post USA Today TechCrunch

External links[edit]

References[edit] Technorati - Wednesday, June 22, 2011 TechCrunch - Tuesday, May 31, 2011 Online Reporter - Tuesday, May 3, 2011 - Thursday, March 17, 2011 Wall Street Journal - Tech Europe - Monday, March 14, 2011 The Guardian - Thursday, 2 December, 2010 The Guardian - Thursday, 18 November 2010 The Guardian - Thursday, November 18, 2010 Advertising Age - Friday, October 22, 2010 All Things Digital - Friday, April 16, 2010 Business Week - Thursday, April 08, 2010 LA Times - Thursday, April 08, 2010 GigaOM - Wednesday, April 07, 2010 Digital Music Trends - Monday, April 05, 2010 Marketwire - Wed, March 03, 2010 The Hollywood Reporter - Tuesday, March 02, 2010 - Monday, March 01, 2010 TechRadar - Friday, February 19, 2010 The Washington Post - Thursday, February 18, 2010 TechCrunch - Monday, February 08, 2010