New Zealander and former decathlete Sean Gourley says it's only a matter of time before his company Quid will know more than the United States government. "How much is information worth?" he asked rhetorically during at a recent lunch meeting with CNET, as he showed off Quid's software that uses data, math, and visualizations to help clients make billion-dollar decisions.
Based on today's news from the company, the answer to Gourley's question is "a lot." Quid announced it has secured $10 million in series C funding from some heavyweights in the Silicon Valley including angel Ron Conway and Peter Thiel's Founders Fund, increasing the company's funding to $14 million. Why are investors sinking so much into the company? "We're getting million-dollar deals," said Gourley, the company's co-founder and chief technology officer.
Quid collects data about companies based on key words, patents, and press releases to create a graph that shows how the companies are connected. Currently, the company is focused on analyzing tech trends, politics, and conflicts, and is programming software that can track everything from the movement of people to investments, research and development, violence, and attacks.
The algorithm can be used to keep track of the tech landscape--attracting clients like Microsoft --by delivering insights into what trends the companies should be keeping their eyes on. The company is in late-stage talks with government agencies interested in using Quid's intelligence platform too.
Solving problems is the soul of the company. Every Thursday, some of the company's math geniuses finish work early around 3 p.m. and crowd into the conference room for an all-night hackathon, Gourley said. The latest competition involved pulling down all the text from TED talks, analyzing it, ranking it on different categories, and visualizing it. The 20 engineers were up until 5 a.m. solving this network problem.
The company currently has 44 employees, and Gourley says they'll use the funding to grow their engineering team. "In this climate, attracting engineers to this kind of problem is no easy task when a lot of engineers are going to group discount sites and gaming companies. There are still engineers who want to work on real global problems and not do whatever is hot," Gourley says.
Update July 25 at 7:49 a.m. PT: This story was updated regarding the clients, such as Microsoft, that Quid is attracting.