We’re delighted to welcome SafeGraph’s geolocation data products to the Crux platform! SafeGraph is a geolocation data provider that maintains ground truth datasets for human movement, physical places, and visits to places of interest. Connect to SafeGraph or learn more here: https://lnkd.in/da_tmJj
In the world of company financing, investors are—at a high level—generally grouped into “financial investors” and “strategic investors.”
Financial investors are typically venture capital or private equity firms, or banks making loans to companies. These investors believe in the company value proposition, its product-market fit, its management team, and likely their own ability to help the company with advice and industry contacts that they may bring to the table. Their goal is strictly financial, meaning they are looking to sell the company or take it public, and thus cash out with a healthy return, typically in three to five years after their investment.
Strategic investors, on the other hand, typically include the company’s customers and partners. They typically believe the same things that a financial investor does about the prospects of the company and are also looking for eventual financial returns, but these investors frequently have more patience (i.e. will stay invested in the company longer than the three to five years typical of a purely financial investor) and, most notably, these investors also have a strategic interest in the company.
Because strategic investors are customers and partners of the firm, the firm’s very existence is of value to their own companies. Maybe the firm will help them gain internal efficiencies or give them better distribution for their own products. Maybe these investors believe the firm will bring about positive market evolution that aligns with their own company views and goals.
Getting funding from strategic investors has many upsides: not only do these investors care about your firm in ways beyond the financial return they will get from it, but they bring the actual perspective of your customers and partners to the table, and potentially to your Board meetings. This is extremely valuable. Our investors give us constructive early product feedback and help us explore a range of potential customer use cases. They can also help the firm directly by being customers providing revenue. They can share hands-on expertise with the firm.
At Crux, we count ourselves as fortunate to have all strategic investors. Venture capital and private equity firms bring tremendous value to firms beyond their capital, and many of them have stellar track records. But for getting Crux off the ground, we have found that having savvy strategic investors has been invaluable.
One challenge which comes with having strategic investors is that some customers may feel uneasy that these investors may compete with other customers. At Crux, we manage this challenge by treating all of our customers anonymously within our business.
Of course our Board needs to know how our business is progressing, and they want to see how our customer pipeline is growing, but we anonymize all our customer names so that even our Board members do not know who our actual customers and prospects are, and we never ever discuss specific use cases.
All of this aligns well with one of our key company values: discretion. It takes work to maintain discretion, but we feel it is well worth the effort and, in fact, critical for our business and for our customers.
Spotlight: Ezgi Bereketli, Data Engineering Product Manager
We have a number of core company values which guide how we operate and how we see ourselves at Crux. One of these key values is to be a learning organization.
We are committed to becoming the hands-down best at what we do in the world, but we also acknowledge that we don’t know everything. We bridge these two beliefs by approaching each challenge as a learning opportunity for our organization. This means we believe it’s okay not to know a particular thing right now, but we believe it’s absolutely not okay to then fail to go learn that thing.
We are willing to experiment, in risk-managed ways, to try things out, and most importantly, to listen very carefully to what our customers, our partners, our investors, and the broader market are telling us (through their words and actions.) We analyze what we hear thoughtfully, and we incorporate our learnings explicitly and immediately into how we think and operate.
Succeeding at being a learning organization requires being open and curious, having the confidence to know that you can learn new things to get past challenges, being agile in how you react to new learnings, and being dedicated to the idea that ongoing learning is necessary to achieve excellence.
I like to think of getting projects done as ‘charging up mountains’. I appreciate the intense concerted effort and determination needed to do that, and I especially enjoy the unequivocal feeling of doneness when you reach the top of the mountain. You know you are on top: it’s down in every direction from there (just have to be on the lookout for ‘false peaks’ though those are usually quickly found out when you look around a bit).
For this reason, inside Crux we refer to our Platform releases by names of American peaks that are at least 14,000 feet tall. We are in the midst of slowly working our way up from the shortest of those (Sunshine Peak in Colorado) to the tallest. When we summit Denali, maybe we’ll do international peaks
With nearly 20 years of experience in engineering and management, Jonathan Major leads platform engineering, data pipeline operations, and information security at Crux. He’s committed to mastering new technologies, building great teams, and partnering with customers to make their data delightful. We sat down with Jonathan to learn which qualities make a great engineer.
In the world of Data Engineering, the acronym “ETL” is standard short-hand for the process of ingesting data from some source, structuring it, and loading it into a database from which you’ll then use that data. ETL stands for “Extract” (ingest, such as picking up files from an FTP site or hitting a data vendor’s API), “Transform” (change the structure of the data into a form that is useful for you), and “Load” (store the transformed data into a database for your own use).