Sramana: Did your work at Google lead you into starting Qubit?
Graham Cooke: My last three years at Google were spent working on a product designed to measure how advertisers on Google’s platform were investing their media budgets on different campaigns. If you were a company like Amazon and you spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on many different products, how could Google talk to you about how you were performing at a granular product level. Google could come in and have a category conversation, showing them where they were doing well, where they could prioritize spend, and where they could have the most impact.
That product got released into the AdWords Opportunity Center. It was a great opportunity in 2006 to start to interact with big data before it had its name. We were doing big data at Google before big data had the name. Me and the others working on that project would sit around and talk about how we could build a company with those skills. Four of us had been working at different parts of the company and we were all thinking about doing something significant.
My last two years at Google I worked on a project to help Google increase conversion rates. What can Google do to make conversion rates work better? I was part of the Google Analytics team and I was part of the sales and operation organizations. When I was there the light bulb just went off. There has to be a way to make the entire conversion process easier. Web Analytics is really good at reporting and it is really good at telling you about marketing effectiveness. There is nothing out there that is really dynamically driving conversion rates in a systematic way across websites. To do that you need to know who the customer is, what they are doing, where they are in the customer lifecycle, and what information they need to buy.
In 2010 we realized that there was nobody out there solving this problem so we felt there was a good opportunity to set up a business and solve these problems.
Sramana: At that point did the founding team leave Google?
Graham Cooke: Yes, we left Google at the end of 2009. We wanted to start the new decade with our new business.
Sramana: How did you get the business off the ground? Did you have any customers or architecture in mind? Did you bootstrap the company?
Graham Cooke: We all had Google shares and we all sold some of our shares. We then pooled together our money, which came out to about 100,000 dollars. That was our working capital to enable us to buy computers and have money to operate the business. We had to hire some coders to build our first product. We did a mix of outsourcing to India combined with freelance websites. We also hired some freelance engineers in the UK.
Sramana: Who designed the product?
Graham Cooke: The initial product was designed by Emre and myself.