Founder Spotlight: Yossi Shani, CEO of PrimeQue – Taking on Big Data

9Yossi Shani, Founder and CEO of PrimeQue (now go by the name of SimpleQL), treads for the first time in unfamiliar waters with his first startup. While no stranger to the tech world, having worked ten years at Cisco, the new challenges of leading his team and growing his product are proving to be both exhilarating and eye opening.

“I didn’t realize how much I learned at Cisco that I’m now bringing into the fold [here]. Besides the raw skills, just the confidence gained from leading a team has really helped.” In his 10 years at Cisco, Yossi built a solid resume, managing his own group in IT and networking, while earning more certifications that would be reasonable to list here. In spite of an excellent situation, Yossi simply felt it was time to do more.

“When you’re in the enterprise [sector] for ten years, you’re afraid of just being… pushed outside your comfort zone. Which is why I decided to push myself.” Yossi founded PrimeQue with his business partner Tal Cohen as a response to the disconnect between the raw data companies have and their ability to interpret it meaningfully and ask questions about it. “In many cases,” he says, “you don’t know what the next question you should ask is until you see the right report. You want the next question now. We allow the flexibility for business users to figure out the right question without asking someone else to do it for them. We want businesses to really understand why they make the decisions they make instead of just trusting someone because they said so.”

Despite believing whole-heartedly in his mission (having worked with frustrating and unwieldy big data sets often during the course of his employment at Cisco) and attacking his new position with vim and vigor, many difficulties still lie ahead. The greatest joy of running a startup and being an entrepreneur? “Haven’t found it yet,” he admits, bashfully. “It’s very hard.” But being aware of the realities of his situation only seem to inspire more confidence and courage. “We’re going to be a major player in the enterprise data space. [In 5 years] we’re going to be the number one company allowing people to talk to their data.”

“The toughest thing is probably the unknown,” he says, unwittingly harping back to the wisdom of Roosevelt. “You’re simply exploring unknown territory whenever you do something new. It’s exciting.” Despite the difficulty of forging his own path, Yossi charges onward with the help of UpWest Labs. The program helps him build relationships with major companies and potential clients, and helps him connect with his primary user base, all while helping his company develop on all fronts necessary to be a successful startup, from team building and code-advice, to marketing and PR guidance from a network of expert mentors.

To Yossi, the benefits of the UpWest Labs experience cannot be understated. “[Upwest Labs] gives me first hand experience to be able to actually touch all the things you read about in the papers. You read about SalesForce and Atlassian in the papers, but here you meet them. Here the opportunities are much more substantial and lively. UpWest has helped us build great momentum, because we can feel ourselves achieving things in real time. Even small meetings can help build big confidence. It’s a huge benefit to be close to the source.”

Keep watching UpWest Labs Blog to read about more progress from Yossi and the PrimeQue team.