Quarrio is the pioneer of Conversational Analytics, that being the use of language to allow business users to engage in “conversations” with their data to acquire business intelligence.
What does it do?
Quarrio goes beyond traditional analytics and natural language systems by delivering the ability to have conversations with your salesforce data. Letting users run reports by asking questions in plain English is just the start. With Quarrio users can engage in full conversations. This allows users to explore data in seconds and modify reports on the fly without knowing anything about the underlying system. For example, you can begin by asking, “How many opportunities did we close last month?” And then, follow up with “How many of those were in the western region?” And even, “What lead source contributed the most revenue?” This conversational analytics model allows users to perform advanced data discovery and analysis without knowing anything about reporting.
Who is your startup aimed at?
Any business person who needs fast, accurate access to information about sales and sales performance can be a user of Quarrio. Today that means sales managers, sales reps, executives and any C-level exec that needs to analyze and understand sales. The simplicity of the platform coupled with its analytical strength lets you get analyst level information, without having to become a report writer or data analyst.
How does your startup stand out against its competitors?
Quarrio’s technology has three core benefits that make it stand out. First, the natural language system is self-learning, and dynamically becomes more accurate and better as the usage increases.
Second, our conversational style is a break from previous attempts at natural-language systems, which required users to think in database terms. Quarrio gives users the power to perform free-form analysis, on any topic, and from any Salesforce table, without ever worrying about table names, fields or “queries.”
Third, Quarrio’s dynamic loading system, what we call our “instant on BI,” allows business users to get started in seconds, bypassing traditional lengthy, costly business intelligence and data warehouse deployments, all while providing the ease of use and flexibility that has been missing for decades.
Quarrio’s revolutionary approach has been recognized by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), with it’s 2014 NexGen award for big data. Quarrio was named “Most Disruptive” as well as “Overall Winner” for it’s cloud-based analytics platform.
Where did the idea for the startup come from?
The team behind Quarrio got together to solve a critical problem. Business intelligence users are still abandoning BI systems in droves – as high as 80%. We realized that self-service reporting solutions have failed because they failed to recognize one critical truth: business users don’t want to be analysts, they just want answers. This critical belief is at the core of how we develop our platform and how we approach business intelligence.
Did you have any concerns when starting your business, if so what were they?
The main concern was finding ways to make the technology work. Funnily enough, this has been the least of our challenges – the excellent technologists we got on board did this, but only after some trial and error.
What is your business background, and what got you interested in startups?
I started out in investment banking and management consulting. I became interested in startups when I participated in a number of private placements in relatively young companies, and interacted with their management teams and founders. This opened my eyes to a new world of possibilities. I subsequently have started or participated in the founding of a few companies, a few of which were successful, and find the process exhilarating. There is really very few areas of business where one faces as many unsolvable problems, strange characters, and enormous potential as in the startup world. I love it!
How did you initially raise funding for your company?
Family & friends.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Bringing together a great team that comprises people with experience from artificial intelligence and business to create a great product.
How have you kept your business relevant and engaged with your audience over the last two years?
We have been sending periodic updates via email and personal outreach where we’ve solicited assistance from our large group of supporters, for everything from recommendations on potential employees and test customers, to advice regarding our business model and technology choices. The engagement with our audience has been crucial to us, as we wouldn’t have been able to get to this point without their support.
How long has your startup been in the making, and who is the team behind the business?
We’ve been at it for close to two years, and the original idea for the business came from our CEO, who believed that there must be an easier way of doing things in the big data & analytics markets. Something that made it easily possible for busy business users to quickly learn and get decision-making data from. We landed on natural language processing because this is how humans exchange information – so we figured why not humans and machines? We found that developing the technology behind it was incredibly challenging, and we only succeeded because we have a world-class team.
What has been your biggest challenge so far as a startup owner?
Clearly the most difficult challenge has been to build a good team. Our success in accomplishing this speaks to the caliber of the people we’ve surrounded ourselves with. There is no question that excellence begets excellence, and that great people want to work with others with similar competence and outlook.
In the coming year, what would you like to achieve with your business?
We are launching and becoming the premier way that people interact with Salesforce.com; the first platform on which we are launching.
What has been your most valuable lesson so far since starting your business?
I have two major lessons:
Good people are hard to find.
Everything takes longer and costs more than even your worst case calculations.
Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting a business, what would it be?
Ensure that as your co-founders, you have people who have the mindset and resilience necessary to make it through the unforeseen difficulties that will crop up and extended timelines to success. This is incredibly difficult to identify until after the fact, but it’s a pre-requisite to success.