Here at Data Catalyst, we are strong supporters of data exploration, utilization and innovation. That’s why, every few weeks, we profile an organization that is using data as a core part of their business.
Startups in the innovation economy are prime examples of companies using data in more and more interesting ways to deliver novel services and products. This month, Canopy Labs shares some of the philosophy behind their product.
Tell us a little bit about your company and your product/service.
Canopy Labs helps consumer-facing businesses grow sales by predicting their customers’ unmet wants and needs.
The Canopy Labs platform provides real-time, practical and actionable insights to sales and marketing professionals so they can approach customers with the products, offerings and communications that are most likely to result in a purchase. The platform’s power comes from its ability to easily aggregate data from multiple sources. Whether customer data sits in a database, a service like Salesforce, or hard-to-analyze data sets like call centre recordings, Canopy Labs can easily aggregate the data and make predictions. These predictions are focused on growing sales and revenue and ultimately making the business’s sales operations more effective.
Tell us a little bit about you—the people who make up your company.
Canopy Labs is led by Wojciech Gryc (CEO) and Jorge Escobedo (Chief Scientist).
Wojciech Gryc has a wide range of experience in marketing, analytics and business development. Prior to founding Canopy Labs, he was a consultant with McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, with projects focusing on business technology, big data and marketing. Named a Rhodes Scholar in 2008, Wojciech studied at the University of Oxford and earned MSc degrees in mathematical modelling and social science of the Internet.
Jorge Escobedo carried on research in String Theory as a PhD student in residence at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario. He earned a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Waterloo in 2012. His scientific publications pioneered a new research program in String Theory, receiving more than 160 citations to date. Jorge has extensive experience in mathematical modelling and analysis, as well as in data mining and data analytics.
Explain the intersection of data and the work that your company does. How is data important to your work?
Data is central to everything Canopy Labs does, both internally and for all of our customers. Our platform is one of the very few aimed at making data and analytics more accessible to non-technical users and smaller enterprises. Today, big data and advanced analytics are often limited to the realm of large corporations with budgets big enough to afford consulting services or custom IT platforms. Canopy Labs is changing this: we are making advanced analytics available to businesses of any size, and we’re enabling individuals without formal analytics training to benefit from analytics and big data.
What are you doing with data that others may not be doing? What kind of impact are you having on Ontario’s (and Canada’s) data landscape?
We are unique in that we serve the thousands upon thousands of businesses that are big enough to benefit from advanced analytics but can’t afford traditional solutions.
We’ve built such a platform by inventing new technologies around data aggregation and automated analysis, while also working closely with sales teams to really understand how they can use data, and how they can benefit from analytics.
Working on such research and growing our company has allowed us to develop numerous relationships with companies in Ontario. Many of our early customers and pilots were Ontario-based companies, and we are now developing partnerships with researchers in the province to continue to build on our work and also contribute back to the academic community.
What are your thoughts about the emergence of data as an important part of decision-making and economic growth?
We are living in very exciting times for those who are interested in advanced analytics and data science. While these tools have always been important to industry, the variety and volume of data available today makes it possible to build models, track data and test hypotheses that were impossible to test just a few years ago. What’s particularly exciting is that data science is about optimization: it’s about improving results given various constraints, be they technical, economic or otherwise.
This is extremely important to our economies and the major challenges the world is facing. Today’s governments are facing increased burdens on budgets, companies are dealing with ever-growing talent shortages, healthcare systems are being stressed by aging populations… To overcome such challenges, we need to use resources more effectively and, as a population, become more productive. Through the use of advanced analytics and data, I believe we can get there.
Where can we learn a bit more about what you do and your work with data?
Sarah is the “Jill of all trades” at MaRS Data Catalyst. She works with internal and external stakeholders, vendors and team members across all project verticals to deliver high-impact results. If something needs to get done on the team, Sarah makes sure it happens. See more…