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Cesare Cugnasco: Accelerating the Transition to a Data Driven Society With an Innovative Data Storage Technology

Qbeast is a spin-off of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center with the mission to accelerate the transition to a data driven society with an innovative data storage technology that reorganizes and manages data through multidimensional indexing and sampling techniques, so that it can be analyzed up to 100 times faster and managed in a more compliant way.

Tell us about yourself?

We are an international founders team with backrounds in cutting edge research and business. My name is Cesare Cugnasco, I am the CEO, and one of the inventors of the technology, I have 10 years of experience in Computer Architecture and I am a leading member of the meetup community in the Big Data sector.

Pol Santamaria and Paola Pardo (we all three worked together in the BSC) complete the founding tech team with extensive experience in Big Data research. Clemens Jesche and Nicolas Escartin bring Sales, customer relations as well as Corporate Finance experience to the founding team.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

We are entering the third phase of the Big Data revolution. At the first phase, we focused on massive parallelization, studying how to split the work between many machines. At the second phase, we got Hadoop or Spark. Then, we leveraged the cloud for better flexibility, leading to Snowflake or Google Big Query. Now, we call it the era of data respect, and it’s Qbeast’s time.

In the last years, we were made aware of a new type of problem when managing data. Cambridge Analytica showed us how it is essential to respect the privacy of the users.
That changed the public perspective on how we shared the data and led the way for GDPR, the most advanced legislation about data privacy rights.

With GDPR, the individual is the unalienable owner of the data, and they are the ones deciding when and if to share it. So, companies must respect the data they collect, if they want to stay in business. GDPR talks about data minimization, meaning using the least amount of data necessary for a company goal.

But privacy is only one side: Wikileaks showed the risk of a borderless cloud. The data has now to remain within the same legal jurisdiction, complain to law, avoid espionage, and maintain a strategic stance.

That’s why so many initiatives are coming out now, like the International Data Spaces association and Gaia-X, all of them seeking a safe, compliant, but open and interoperable ecosystem for data.

What is your magic sauce?

We created Qbeast data format, an open-source, cloud-agnostic data lake format, allowing companies to minimize the data they need to answer their queries. Using significant statistical samples, we get the same insight using fewer data. This means faster results, cheaper maintenance and easier compliance.

Where do you see your company going in 5 years time?

Qbeast specifically targets Data-Driven Industries, sectors that today permeate a multitude of industries, markets and consumers as more and more companies undertake their transition to a fully digilitized world in which data represents the main asset.

Thus, Qbeast has a transversal and enabling proposal that specifically targets Data-Driven Companies in sectors such as Financial Services, Logistics, Marketing, Retail, Human Resources, Healthcare, Energy, Education, Insurance, Industry 4.0 and Telecommunications, among others.

This is the group of companies most interested in a solution like the one offered by Qbeast, as it allows them great data management capacity, speed and ease of use, as well as after-sales services and additional analytics such as HTAP (Hybrid Transaction/Analytical Processing), Machine Learning and Data Leverage, without requiring large investments in infrastructure.

In Qbeast we would like to achieve several success stories to demonstrate the effectiveness of our solution and show how the product can help companies optimize their internal and decision-making processes. These success stories need to be completed in different industries to demonstrate the flexibility and different uses of the solution. Of course this is a short term goal, but achieving this will keep the company towards the success we want to build up in 5 years time.

What has been your biggest setback so far?

No major setbacks (after all we did decide to start a company during a pandemic). Adapting to this new world is not easy. According to Garner, 80% of organizations seeking to scale digital business will fail because they do not take a modern data and analytics governance approach.

We are building an open-source community for Qbeast data format to engage Data Scientists and Data Engineers. They can try the technology for free, build use cases and contribute to the code. We reach Community members through meetups (e.g. Spark meetup), conferences, founders- and investor connections.

What is the next big challenge for your business?

After we launched our Open source Community with great success, the next great step is to develop use cases together with our target clients.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

A relevant piece of our technology is available Open source: Qbeast-Spark.
Through our use cases of course and on top of that we are also developing a Saas tool.

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