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AiThority Interview with Ahmad Al Khatib, CEO and Founder at Qudo

Ahmad Al Khatib, CEO and Founder at Qudo

Please tell us a little bit about your journey in the digital technology space. How did you start at Qudo?

“I studied civil engineering at university, which first piqued my interest in how things worked. I liked how a culmination of small parts all came together to make one big thing work. From then, I always knew I wanted to build something – I just wasn’t sure what. After university I started my first internship at an Abu Dhabi investment company who were just beginning to invest in technology companies. This was around the time technology was becoming cool again and Facebook’s popularity was skyrocketing. I knew I had to be involved in the technology industry in some way, so I decided to move to London to be at the forefront of technological innovation.

I was eventually introduced to some people who worked at Cambridge Analytica. I was fascinated by its technology and product and knew that it had the potential to help small companies too. Of course, the Cambridge Analytica story didn’t end well, and I was just as shocked and disappointed as everyone else at what was unearthed.

After Cambridge Analytica stopped operating, I wanted to utilise the core of its tech but in a way that would help the underdogs, rather than just the political and business elite.

I had a big vision and even bigger dreams for how technology could change the MarTech industry, when used right. So, my co-founders, Umar Akhtar and Mihajlo Popesku, and I decided to do just that – and Qudo was founded.”

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What is Qudo and what are your core offerings? Which organisations benefit the most from leveraging your product and solution?

“Looking at the industry, we see lots of legacy players that are slow and expensive. We’re the antidote to that and want to use our tech to challenge these other companies.

Our key mission is to democratise data and make it accessible to all – along with impactful insights. That’s at the heart of everything we do. Our platform combines consumer research, analysis and marketing automation to bridge the gap between insight and activation to empower marketing teams’ campaigns. We want to empower marketers to take their data analysis to the next level by providing pre-made segments built from zero-party data powered insights, all in one place.

All of this is under-pinned by zero-party data. It enables us to gain information about consumer habits with full consent. I know data privacy is a huge cause of concern for consumers and it makes sense – who really wants their data to be tracked and stored without their knowledge? That’s why I knew zero-party data had to be a part of our platform. We want to protect our customers and their customers from any wrongdoing, which is why we have built a watertight system that does not collect any identifiable information. What’s more, we make sure we collect only what consumers are willing to give out with full consent. Lastly, with zero-party data as the backbone of our insights, we eliminate all risk of tracking.

In terms of which organisations will benefit most, a North Star for us is that whatever we build, it has to be accessible to all who want to use it. By working on a ‘Freemium’ model so that everyone can derive value from the platform, we hope that startups and smaller businesses can benefit from our product alongside larger companies.”

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Data management trends have changed in the last 2-3 years. Most organisations connect data management goals with their revenue generation outcomes. How do you help customers achieve this fine balance at Qudo? / How do economic conditions like recession and price inflation impact market intelligence goals? What kind of strategy works in such scenarios?

“As I’ve nodded to, from the beginning, we wanted to pivot from Cambridge Analytica and do things differently with Qudo. The way the MarTech industry works means that smaller companies always lose out. There are big players within the industry – the Goliaths – and they cater to massive companies, who pay hundreds of thousands of Pounds for a single project, making it inaccessible to startups and smaller businesses. Instead, I wanted to make sure all marketing teams, no matter the size of their company, could have access to the insights they need to propel their campaigns.

I’m proud to say that without compromising on efficiency, quality or value, we o**** our SaaS product for a very reasonable monthly fee. We know we have a great product, so it has never made sense for it to only be accessible by large corporations.

We believe in data-driven marketing and recognise that the wider economic climate has made it much harder for marketers with budgets being cut left, right and centre. We want to work with marketers throughout the full journey from providing them with insights, to telling them how to action those insights, and this also means listening to them about what works and what doesn’t.”

How are marketing technology companies impacted by the recent push for zero-party data?

“Change can be difficult, especially in an industry like MarTech where numerous regulations have come into effect in quick succession. But I personally think the push towards zero-party data should have come sooner. The industry has known for some time now that third-party cookies are invasive and consumer concern around data privacy has been growing. Rather than being impacted, I think that MarTech companies who embrace zero-party data have an opportunity to be at the forefront of a monumental change within the industry.

At Qudo, we hope to incentivise both consumers and marketers towards the change for this type of data. I truly believe that zero-party data is the future of our industry.”

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ChatGPT conversations are everywhere. How do you see ChatGPT and other generative AI apps playing a larger role in your industry?

“OpenAI and Microsoft are aggressively creating an infrastructure that will propel the integration of AI models into tech products even faster. The announcement of ChatGPT plugins means that we’ll have access to a plethora of new functionalities similarly to what Apps did for the iPhone. With everyone having access to natural language AI chatbots, those plugins will make all the difference, just like Apple’s App Store made all the difference between iOS and Android.

While Google is not impressing anyone with Bard, there should be little doubt that they will eventually catch up, and create a new deploy. MarTech companies should pay attention and consider how to integrate AI into their solutions.

At the end of the day, AI gives us new ways to solve problems for our customers. It also allows marketers to spend more time thinking and focusing on core ideas rather than spending too much time executing them, which is a big plus. With ChatGPTplugins we can now reach a massive audience with a clear proposition that exists thanks to ChatGPT, and not despite it.”

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

[To share your insights with us, please write to sghosh@martechseries.com]

Ahmad Al Khatib, CEO and co-founder of MarTech SaaS platform, Qudo.

Qudo Logo

Qudo is a Precision Activation Engine that connects brands with relevant audiences using zero-party data.

Qudo streamlines and automates the entire marketing value chain, from research to digital activation. The platform acts as a one-stop-shop for savvy marketers that enables: agile research, segmentation, profiling, and precision targeting on social media.

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