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AiThority Interview with Mario Ciabarra, Founder and CEO at Quantum Metric

Hi, Mario. Please tell us about your role and the team / technology you handle at Quantum Metric. How did you arrive at Quantum Metric?

I am the CEO of Quantum Metric, overseeing a team of 300 people that continues to grow everyday. I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a kid. My dad was an immigrant from Italy, and I believe his drive to provide for our family of eight inspired my interest in entrepreneurship. I sold my first startup, DevStream, in 2003. After that I founded another startup for iPhone apps, and then an iPhone App Store, that eventually led me to launching Quantum Metric in 2015. Before Quantum, I realized one of the largest problems I faced as an ecommerce platform creator was that it took too long to understand what customers were doing, or why they were frustrated. This made it difficult to improve digital experiences on both apps and websites. I launched Quantum to solve that problem.

What is Quantum Metric and what does your product / service offering look like?

Quantum Metric helps business, product, and technical teams at Global 2000 companies across verticals such as retail, financial services, travel, and telecommunications gain real-time insight into online customer behavior. Our platform helps teams identify friction and customer intent so that they can continuously improve digital products such as websites, native apps, and kiosks.

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Could you tell us more about the current trends in the CPD industry? How does Quantum Metric influence the CPD market with its services?

We authored the Continuous Product Design (CPD) methodology because we saw that digital native companies such as Google, Amazon, and AirBnb had uncovered a process which gave them a competitive advantage –  a cross-team approach to building digital products faster.  Our platform helps enterprises operationalize the CPD methodology by aligning teams such as marketing, engineering, IT/Ops, and product around the customer data that matters most – the data that is directly tied to KPIs such as conversion rates, revenue, NPS, and CSAT.

Pandemic Era Management

How has your role evolved through the pandemic crisis? How did you stay on top of your game?

When the pandemic struck, there was some confusion on how the world’s crisis would unfold, and the outlook changed daily. Initially, we tightened our spending controls and prepared for the worst, but as the pandemic evolved, we came to learn that our customers’ digital business and our market was going to take center stage. We were fortunate to have a business in demand and scaled up rapidly. From a team and operational perspective, we were already set-up as a remote working company, with 70% of our team distributed around the US and EMEA. We focused on our culture and our people, ensuring we were not just supplying a job, but trying our best to help each other work through the mental and professional challenges we all faced during the last 15 months.

One lesson you learned by working with technology and people during the pandemic?

When the pandemic started, one of my mentors told me that during a crisis, a company’s true colors shine. He coached me to be there for our customers, that they will always remember the people and partners who helped them through the hardest of times. During the early months of the pandemic, we shored up our financing and secured an additional $25M so that we could help our customers during the initial cash crunch of the pandemic. We didn’t need to focus on revenue, but on being a great partner. This has paid dividends – as we began to exit the toughest point of the pandemic from an economic perspective, those customers are leaning in greater than ever, with 98%+ gross customer retention, a metric that is in the top 1% of SaaS companies.  I’m exceptionally thankful for some great mentors and advisors who have seen crisis before, and helped us manage the business as best as possible.

Tell us more about your recent collaboration with Salesforce and how joining the AppExchange provides your customers with more advantages.

We’re thrilled about this partnership. Quantum Metric for Salesforce Service Cloud is a powerful integration that allows call center agents to identify customer friction, quantify business impact, and resolve issues in real time – all without ever having to leave Salesforce. The early customer demand has been significant and we’re excited to evolve our partnership with Salesforce.

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How do you think AI, Blockchain and Data Analytics could completely transform the whole CPD marketplace in the coming months? How do you use these at Quantum Metric?

We are seeing a shift towards a true, real-time understanding of customers. Organizations are starting to realize that if they don’t meet their customers with the right message at every digital touch point, they will lose. Enabling this requires understanding your customer like never before and connecting technologies in a way that hasn’t been possible until recently. It’s all about inserting the customer’s perspective into every tool you use, from backend performance monitoring solutions to the activation layer and A/B/n testing tools.

AI/ML has always been a guiding principle for us here at Quantum Metric. Our customers are often large organizations who have millions of data points coming at them every day. Our job is making it easier for them to quantify and prioritize their work. AI enables teams to surface the problems with the greatest impact on a business’s bottom line, which is at the core of  Continuous Product Design.

How would you define ‘responsible AI’ in the pandemic era through the lens of a general customer?

First and foremost, responsible AI should be helpful, enhancing the customer journey and streamlining online transactions. I believe this is why we are seeing the shift to first-party data. Brands are now realizing that they need to use actual customer data to improve the user/customer experience, which matters so much more than building shiny new features with no proven business value. 

Now, companies are investing in personalization, real-time behavioral data, and great digital experiences. AI makes it possible to ingest and act on large amounts of data. For our business, there isn’t much in our models to focus on AI bias, but I do believe the word responsible is best applied to data privacy and security in experience analytics.  

When GDPR first arrived on our radar in 2016, I thought this would be a tough obstacle to overcome for data and analytics. But after further introspection on who we wanted to become as a company, I realized that at that moment, we had an opportunity to place user privacy and security at the heart of what we do. We innovated a unique approach to pseudoanonymization for web and app analytics, where we ensure Private by Default, a core tenant of GDPR, is the default approach to all data collection and analysis. I believe it is critical to be thoughtful and responsible on how the data that is used in AI models and analysis is collected and stored. Above all, we want to be respectful of data privacy and the security of our customers.

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Tag a person in the industry whose answers you would like to see here:

John Chambers.

Thank you, Mario! That was fun and we hope to see you back on soon.

Mario Ciabarra, Founder and CEO of Quantum Metric, is a computer scientist and tech entrepreneur who’s passionate about pairing world-class teams with large-scale technology challenges. He believes in 3 cultural attributes that are foundational to a winning team: Passion, Persistence, and Integrity. Mario founded Quantum Metric to help organizations align with a single version of customer-defined and quantified truth. Previously founding and exiting an APM startup which solved where enterprise applications could be improved, he saw the natural next step was expanding organizational alignment around the entire product lifecycle.

Quantum Metric helps organizations build better digital products faster. Our Continuous Product Design platform gives business and technical teams a single version of truth that’s automatically quantified and based on what matters most — your customer’s perspective. The result: Teams are aligned, learn faster, and release with confidence. In January of 2021, Quantum Metric secured its place as the first tech unicorn of the year with an above $1 billion valuation and a $200 million Series B funding round. In 2020, Quantum Metric was ranked 124 in the Inc 5000, a list of America’s fastest-growing private companies.

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