This discussion focuses on the evolution of analytics in the cloud era. Christian Gheorghe is a serial entrepreneur and a domain expert in the analytics field.
Sramana Mitra: Christian, introduce our audience to you as well as to Tidemark.
Christian Gheorghe: My name is Christian Gheorghe. I’m the founder and CEO of a company started four years ago that’s called Tidemark.
Sramana Mitra: Where are you located?
Christian Gheorghe: We are located in Redwood Shores in California.
Sramana Mitra: Where are you from? You have an accent, so I’m thinking you’re not from Redwood Shores.
Christian Gheorghe: I’m actually Romanian. I left Romania in 1989 when the Eastern bloc dictatorship was overthrown in the so called Velvet Revolution.
Sramana Mitra: What route have you followed in your journey and how did you arrive at Tidemark?
Christian Gheorghe: It’s a rather cobbled path. I arrived in a brightly lit immigration office at the JFK airport looking for freedom basically. I spent some time in New York driving a taxicab and then a limousine. I also got into the lucrative business of carrying plywood for a construction site for the next few months. One evening, while driving to Manhattan, I told the customer that I had majored in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering in Bucharest and that I was interested in writing software. He gave me a job in his small company that dealt in service bureau kind of work.
That man was Andrew Saxe and we went on to become friends and then business partners. In 1991, we co-founded Saxe, a software company for campaign marketing and management. We ended up selling that company to Experion and then I spent about a year and a half there as a CTO.
Then I decided to venture out on my own and start a company in predictive analysis, which was predicated on the emergence of the Internet as a digital marketing channel, rather than the type of marketing channels that we were engaged in previously. That company was called Tian, the last four letters of my first name. I also started thinking about the type of applications you could build on top of predictive analytics. One of the applications that is very feasible is the notion of doing financial forecasting and planning. I had a board member who introduced me to a group of young people who were trying to build a new financial planning and analysis (FP&A) company, very different from Hyperion.
I sold Tian to OutlookSoft where I met Tony, my co-founder for Tidemark. We built OutlookSoft with the rest of the funding team there. That was an FP&A application company dealing with analytics for financial planning and analysis. In 2007, we sold OutlookSoft to SAP. Meanwhile, IBM bought Cognos and Oracle bought Hyperion. I spent three years at SAP in various roles around the business applications platform. Two years into it, I decided to leave SAP to think about the impact that the cloud computing will have on this kind of analytical applications.