After a successful career in the financial services industry, Vishal Marria saw the potential of data-driven solutions to some of the industries biggest problems. He tells BQ about his journey…
What is it the company does?
Quantexa is a big data analytics company. Using real-time entity resolution and network analytics, we help companies solve complex business problems through data analytics, AI and machine learning. We are able to build a contextual view of a customer at scale, and in real time. The team holds a wealth of experience leveraging data to tackle complex financial crime and regulatory compliance challenges across a number of sectors including banking, insurance and government.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
I am the founder and CEO of Quantexa. I lead the strategy and the direction of the business across all product lines globally. As a start-up, we have a collaborative attitude and strong leadership team of directors. We all work together to build a sustainable business, hire talented people and ensure that the company continues to grow and thrive.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I’ve worked in financial crime and big data since 2005, leading global teams in financial services and compliance at Detica NetReveal (BAE Systems), SAS and EY. I gained strong experience in leading major programs at international banks, notably Anti Financial Crime technology strategy, data-driven remediation and end-to-end reviews of strategy and policy under regulatory monitorship. I was fascinated by it all, but I was frustrated that businesses were investing in data-driven technologies that didn’t drive business benefit – that’s why I founded Quantexa, to tackle this problem head-on.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
A great leader is understanding your stakeholders – the investors, the people and the customers. As a leader, I need to drive the business while meeting the stakeholders’ needs.
We constantly have meetings to ensure that our team in London and across the world are working to their full capability, aren’t being held back and are also being rewarded for their good work. If you invest in your team, they will be invested in you and your business.
What has been the biggest challenge in your current position?
As a tech start-up, we are challenging the status quo to change the mindset of a fast-moving market. This takes sheer dedication and patience to truly achieve what you set out to do.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
Well, I used to go and watch Tottenham play but now it makes it worse!
It’s important to understand what is important to you – that is my family. My home life is my stress-free zone.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a successful businessman and entrepreneur. Growing up in a culture with several family-owned businesses, I worked from a very young age to learn everything about how to run a successful company. Business has always been, and still is, my passion.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
We pride ourselves having a collaborative solutions-focused business. What frustrates me is if people come to me with a problem and offering no solution.
To overcome this we operate a transparent, collaborative company culture to encourage communication, ideas and innovation. We want our team to be open-minded to tackle the problem head-on and achieve a sense of ownership.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
We don’t necessarily think in timescales, we think in number of customers. We are a customer-driven business and hope in five years’ time, that we have a loyal customer portfolio.
We have offices in New York City, Brussels and Sydney, I expect we will have expanded even further. It’s an incredibly exciting time for all of us at Quantexa.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
The best piece of advice I could give is to always think about your good and bad days. If you’ve had a bad at the office or had to make a difficult decision, always think about ‘why’. Why did you have a bad day? Or why was it necessary to make that decision? This creates focus. Staying focused on your business goals allows you to play to your strengths and play to your position.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
It doesn’t matter what you think you do, it matters what your customers think you do.
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