EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a monthly series of miniprofiles featuring local executives “off the clock.”
EXECUTIVE'S NAME, TITLE AND COMPANY NAME.
Kevin Marcus, cofounder and CTO, Versium Analytics
TELL US WHAT YOUR COMPANY DOES AND WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THIS BUSINESS.
I started working with data in the early 1990s and discovered that I really enjoy it. Data is a lot of fun! It’s rewarding for me to find new ways to use big data and connect the dots in order to derive actionable insights from it. Ever since then, I’ve been deeply entrenched in the big data and analytics space. From launching some of the first online directory services to running AOL’s classifieds at scale, I have constantly been surrounded by data.
Versium got off the ground a few years ago, when my founding partner, Chris Matty, and I received a request from a former colleague to help with an analytics project involving social networks. This project helped us see an opportunity to fill a gap in the analytics market by creating a self-serve analytics solution that helps marketers like our former colleague, who have no formal data science training, to automatically build predictive models themselves without enlisting the help of data scientists.
So many companies are just sitting on these enormous piles of data today, but they’re often unsure how to derive actionable intelligence from it. We wanted to make data intelligence accessible to everyone, not just those with a Ph.D. in data science. When Chris and I started designing Versium’s platform, we focused on making it simple and easy-to-use for marketers, period. From day one, Versium’s mission has been about taking complex, technical information and making it accessible to a wide variety of people, where they could use it in their current environments, without complicated or specialized training.
Versium is working with more than 300 companies that include marketing agencies, technology and service providers, and educational facilities. In 2015, we saw our revenue increase by more than 100 percent year over year — and we’re projecting that to increase to 157 percent year over year for 2016.
WHAT BOOK/TV SHOW/PODCAST ARE YOU READING/WATCHING/LISTENING TO AND WHY?
I do a lot of my reading online, but my favorite book is A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. I love it because Bryson explains complicated areas of science in a way that’s easily understandable to the general public. I’m a big proponent of making science accessible to more people, and Bryson does this really effectively. The same holds true for people like Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson; they’re both great.
As for TV shows, I like watching Bates Motel [on A&E] because initially it seems like a horror show but once you get into it, you realize the show is mainly about the leading character Norman’s upbringing, which is a really interesting story line.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SPOT IN SEATTLE?
The Pacific Science Center. I think it’s really important to make science more accessible, and the Pacific Science Center does a great job of making science fun, cool and interesting for everyone.
WHAT KIND OF CAR DO YOU DRIVE?
I drive a Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid. The battery lasts for about 25 miles, but there’s also a gas engine, so I don’t get “range anxiety” if the battery is low.
TELL US SOMETHING PEOPLE DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU.
I raced closed-wheel cars for a couple of years. I’ve always enjoyed cars, and the rush I got from racing was pretty exhilarating. I stick to highway driving these days, though.
WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT OUTSIDE OF WORK?
I love astronomy. I saw Saturn through a telescope when I was a kid, and I’ve been fascinated by outer space ever since. I have an observatory-class telescope weighing 400 to 500 pounds that I roll in and out of my garage for stargazing.
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