Industry Vet David Karnstedt to Head Data Startup Quantifind as CEO

Firm Uses Financial Data to Determine True Meaning of Social Buzz

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David Karnstedt has worked with a long list of well-known digital firms over the years, from Yahoo to Adobe. Now the industry vet will take on the role of CEO at Silicon Valley startup Quantifind. He starts the gig today, though he's been involved with the data-driven decision-making and predictive-analytics firm as an investor and board member over the past few years.

David Karnstedt
David Karnstedt

Pepsi and Heineken are among marketers that look to the company to build models using unstructured customer conversation data along with historical financial data to improve marketing efforts and in some cases inform things like product development.

Co-founder and current CEO Ari Tuchman will become president of Quantifind, with engineering, product development and data-science teams reporting to him.

The plan for Mr. Karnstedt is to transform Quantifind into a larger-scale firm. He said his previous work with companies specializing in predictive analytics and machine learning such as Yahoo and Efficient Frontier has provided a foundation for what lies ahead at Quantifind. Mr. Karnstedt led search marketing firm Efficient Frontier as president and CEO when Adobe acquired it in 2011, reportedly for around $400 million. In his earlier career, he was a top-level sales exec for Yahoo between 2001 and 2008.

Quantifind takes sets of unstructured data representing customer conversations from things like call transcripts and social media, and layers it with clients' own historical financial information to determine the actual correlations between buying decisions and what people say about products and brands.

"We're not telling you what your buzz is," said Mr. Tuchman, stressing that the company seeks to connect unwieldy conversation data -- often misinterpreted as a reflection of actual buying behavior -- to concrete financial data such as regional purchase trends over a span of a few years. For instance, the company looked at three years worth of sales data from a soda maker representing specific SKUs in certain regions, combining that with conversational data to isolate patterns that could help explain loss of market share.

Mr. Tuchman would not reveal the name of the beverage maker involved in that project, though Pepsi is a client.

Quantifind has around 60 employees primarily based in Menlo Park, Calif. Launched in 2009, it grew 2.5 times in revenue in the past year, according to Mr. Tuchman.

The company sees itself as a decision-making firm, rather than an analytics company. Mr. Tuchman recognized parallels with firms such as IBM, but stressed that the Quantifind model is not about custom consulting; rather, the platform can be used readily by all sorts of clients on a subscription basis.

The data-driven decision-making market "is ripe for definition," he said.

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