Meet Innovator of the Week
CEO of Rapid Insight, Inc.
Tell us about you and your company.
Rapid Insight is a predictive analytics software company. Our technology allows organizations to take enormous amounts of data and quickly turn it into actionable information. Colleges and universities use it to predict things like which students are at risk of attrition, which applicants are going to enroll, or which alumni are going to make large donations. Hospitals use it to predict things like which patients are likely to acquire an infection during their visit, or which patients are at risk of being readmitted to the hospital shortly after they are discharged. Large companies use it to determine things like which customers are going to churn, or which customers are going to purchase specific products. Human resource organizations use it to predict employee churn and to find the best candidates to fill specific positions.
What sets us apart from some of the legacy analytic software companies like SAS and IBM/SPSS, is that we enable users to build predictive models and run analyses very quickly, without the user needing to be a programmer and a statistician. We’ve done this by developing a way for statistical models to be created automatically, and by making it easy to blend and integrate data from any and all data sources.
Who or what was your best resource for starting your company?
By far the best resource for starting Rapid Insight has been our employees. We’ve got an incredibly talented and dedicated team, and without them we would never have been successful. We have also benefited from being part of the Technology Village in Conway. Jac Cuddy who runs the Mount Washington Economic Council has done a great job of connecting companies with the right resources and accommodating us as our company has grown.
What’s the best advice you have received?
I think the most useful business advice I’ve ever received was from Nike. Just do it. I say that half-jokingly, but it really does sum up the mindset that you need to have when starting a company or taking on any large endeavor. You’ll always have to make these types of decisions without any certainty of the outcome and there are always a million reasons not to do something.
What about the NH lifestyle appeals to you?
Everything about the NH lifestyle appeals to me. I moved here because I love the mountains and the outdoors. There’s always something to do and it’s impossible to be bored. New Hampshire offers a great quality of life and my wife and I love raising our kids here. I also love the sense of community and the entrepreneurial mindset shared by many people in New Hampshire.
What was your biggest obstacle in starting your company and how did you overcome it?
For me the biggest obstacle in the beginning was the desire to chase every opportunity. This lack of focus affected everything from how we were positioning our products in our marketing material to what functionality we were choosing to add to the software. And that’s not even to mention the enormous amount of time that we spent giving demos to people who had no interest in our technology. Once I realized that this lack of focus was hurting us, it was a simple thing to fix.
What does the future look like for your company?
We’re in a fast growing space. Big data and predictive analytics is a hot area and we’re positioned nicely to capitalize on this. We’ve got hundreds of customers who are using our software to make significant, positive impacts on their organizations. We’re in the middle of a record sales year and we’ve seen tremendous growth for several years in a row. On top of this we are about to launch the next generation of our predictive analytics software, which is really exciting.
With all of that said, we’ve got a lot of work to do. We are moving into new markets, developing new solutions, hiring new people, tuning our business model, and learning a heck of a lot. Within the next five years we’ll move from somewhat of a niche player to a market leader in the big data and predictive analytics space. There’s no doubt that this isn’t going to be easy, but it’ll be a heck of a lot of fun!
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