Interview with Dorian Selz (Squirro)
Squirro is a context intelligence app that acts as a personal digital assistant.
I interviewed Dorian Selz, Squirro founder to find out more. This is the hundred and ninety eighth in a series of DW startup interviews. Big thank you to Dorian!
How would you describe Squirro in under 50 words?
Squirro is the leading context intelligence technology, that delivers the full story behind structured and numerical data.
How did you meet co-founders Toni Birrer, Patrice Neff and Felix Hürlimann?
We have all been working together for 8 years since the we created local.ch, the largest web-site in Switzerland. Following our exit from local.ch, we created Nektoon AG, where we first developed memonic an online note-taking and where we now focus on Squirro.
Why did you decide to launch Squirro early 2012?
Squirro is the natural evolution of the experience we gathered while developing local.ch and memonic.
With local.ch we created an extremely powerful local search engine. The memonic technology allowed users to clip and share the content they found and liked.
In early 2012 we identified a great opportunity in the B2B intelligence field. Today companies have access to more data than ever before, but without context this data can often be meaningless. We therefore decided to develop Squirro, the technology that delivers context to you data.
How long did it take to put together the initial version of Squirro?
Squirro was not born out of the blue! Thanks to memonic we already had a solid architecture to build upon, none-the-less it did take us 6 months to have a minimum viable product. We have gone through some substantial changes since this first product and we can now provide our technology for most business intelligence suites or CRM platforms such as QlikView or Salesforce.
Who do you see as your target audience? How are you reaching them?
Our core target audience are businesses for which it is paramount to have access to timely relevant information. In the business intelligence space we have developed a solution that delivers unstructured information such as news and reports from any source (internal or external) to provide the context needed behind numerical data.
Has Squirro got the feedback and growth you expected since launching January 2012?
The feedback we have received from the start has been very encouraging. We had identified a clear opportunity from the get go and with rapid iterations we are now in a position where we expect our growth to accelerate. The opportunity to implement Squirro within business intelligence suites like QlikView is a big accelerator for us.
Do you have any features in the pipeline?
Our patent pending Digital Fingerprint Technology, the engine that powers Squirro will keep on evolving. To date the communication channel between the hosting application (QlikView, Salesforce, SAP byD,…) and Squirro is one directional. This means that Squirro analyses the signals it gets from the platform it is embedded in and feeds it back intelligence based on those signals.
The next evolution for us is to make the communication between the two platforms bi-directional. Imagine for example that Squirro analyses in real-time the amount of news generated on a particular topic for a particular company. Squirro could notify the user of any significant variations and correlate this information with the already existing data of the hosting application, therefore bringing another layer of context to the information displayed in dashboards.
How do you differentiate yourselves from your competitors?
There are a variety of player in the sales and business intelligence with very strong propositions. Our key differentiator is our ability to constantly deliver relevant real-time intelligence that complements both business and sales intelligence.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
We have recently adapted Squirro to be seamlessly integrated in QlikView. Users now get real-time, accurate, context intelligence to any point of insight they uncover while doing business discovery in QlikView.
It is really exciting to see how enthusiastically both users and partners have reacted. Imagine you are looking within QlikView at a financial stock analysis application and particularly at a graph of stock price evolution. From that graph you see whether the stock is on a positive or negative trend and you can compare it’s current pricing to any pricing in the past, but you do not get the information as to why the price has evolved in one or the other direction.
That’s where Squirro come in! By simply selecting any data point on the graph, Squirro will deliver, directly within the application, the most relevant information about it. You now get the full story behind your data.
Can you convince the reader to start using Squirro in under 50 words?
Squirro delivers unstructured data to users in context of their personal interests and priorities, learning and refining it as user interactions increase.
Combining the structured and the unstructured worlds together, Squirro provides the ‘why’ behind the data. This reduces search time by 75% and allows for more effective decision-making.
Finished reading? Check out Squirro!