The CIX Top 20 CEO Series highlights the chief executive officers of Canada’s most innovative companies.
You can register for CIX 2015 here.
Today we sat down with Kerry Liu, CEO of Rubikloud.
What impact does being on the CIX Top 20 have on your business?
It has a large impact and is very important to us, particularly for a company that is building extremely disruptive tech for a traditional industry like retail. So far we’ve been a publicly quiet company, but we’ve had some remarkable results. We are already one of the world’s largest retail data start-ups. CIX helps us tell our story!
How was your company formed?
We were formed under a simple thesis. Retailers were being left behind in this new wave of big data technologies. Retailers have typically received their innovation from large system integrators like SAP, IBM and Oracle or consulting firms like Dunnhumby and Accenture. None of these companies were offering the latest techniques to solve modern retail problems. We saw a huge opportunity.
What brought you to this industry?
Retail is in the middle of a generational shift. It has been a decade since someone has created a technology company purely for retailers. Today, they are being threatened from competition like Amazon on the top end, and new players like Warby Parker on the start-up side. About 90% of retail spend in North America is generated from the traditional brick and mortar players. No-one is servicing or innovating for them, until now.
Who are your typical clients?
Multi-Channel retailers that have physical stores, e-commerce, and mobile commerce revenue. We also love retailers who have an active Loyalty or CRM program. Our smallest client has under $1b in annual revenue and our largest has over $50 billion in annual revenue.
Can you give me a sense of your role and what you do as CEO of your company? What are your goals?
I focus on two things: People/Culture and Revenue/Growth. I have excellent co-founders and recently hired industry heavy weights to help with technology disruption and product development. Our goals are simple: We think we can be a billion dollar company that is cash rich in 4 years.
How do you feel your past experience has impacted you and your role as CEO? Have you had any mentors?
I’ve always wanted to be a tech entrepreneur. In second year University, I spent a summer interning at BDC Venture Capital and just fell in love with the industry. From there, it was all about immersing myself in technology and becoming an entrepreneur. From PwC on the service/consulting side, to being in the weeds with a start-up for 3 years, everything in my past has been about becoming a tech entrepreneur. I love this space and find it to be the purest form of entrepreneurship in the world.
Mentors? Of course. Too many to list here. I have been incredibly lucky.
Are you developing anything new that you can share with the public?
We believe we have the recipe for using a retailer’s CRM and customer base to tune their business results. When you have the dataset we have, you find innovative breakthroughs every single week. Our team is living on the cutting edge of machine learning and big data technologies applied to retail.
Our retailers pay for our platform in less than 1 month- and we’re not cheap. We will be making some big announcements around this in the new year.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
a) The smartest and most practical technology provider for retailers in the world
b) A place for where the most intellectually curious people in Canada want to work
c) An exponential business model where we own our path towards a billion dollars
What are you looking forward to most at CIX 2015?
Meeting other CIX winners. Everytime I think I’ve met all the founders in this community, a dozen more amazing companies pop up. This is a great time for tech in Canada. Everyone should quit their job and join a start-up- I mean it. There is no better time.