Why this top LinkedIn employee quit to start his own data analytics company

Adam WeinsteinCursor CEO and Founder Adam Weinstein
  • Adam Weinstein, a former senior employee at LinkedIn, quit last year to start his own data analytics company, Cursor.
  • Cursor lets users inside a company search for data across different departments, databases, and platforms.
  • The company launched two months ago, and teams at Apple and Slack already use the program.

Adam Weinstein was a senior employee at LinkedIn when he was asked to teach employees in China about the company’s data analytics operation, or how the company uses data to make business decisions.

But the task, he found, was more difficult than he anticipated because there wasn’t a unified place to find data across different departments, databases, and platforms.

Weinstein cobbled together a basic tool that could do this, which then became used frequently inside LinkedIn. For analysts, he figured, a system that would allow people to easily cull and keep track of data without bouncing off emails to several departments would make their jobs easier – and it could make for a lucrative business opportunity.

“I talked to lots of folks and I found that the problem we faced at LinkedIn was not unique to us or the technology sector,” Weinstein told Business Insider.

After just three years working at LinkedIn, Weinstien quit in March 2017 and founded Cursor, a software company that allows anyone – not just analysts – to search for data across the entire company inside the same program.

Cursor also keeps track of what data people have asked for, thereby reducing duplicate searches.

“Analysts are on one side of the market. They’re the ones the produce the content, get asked questions and write the code,” Weinstein said. “On the other side are the people that are asking the questions, and those tend to be data driven leaders from anywhere in the organisation. Both are using Cursor to interface with each other.”

The company launched in March with $US2 million in seed funding from Toba Capital and Ride Ventures. Teams at Apple, Slack, and of course LinkedIn already use the product.

‘They would write a check for this immediately’

Weinstein started working at LinkedIn in 2014 after Bright, an AI-powered recruiting platform where Weinstien led data analytics, was acquired by the company for $US134 million. That wasn’t Weinstein’s first acquisition, though. He also founded his own greeting-card company in 2009 that was eventually acquired by Designer Greetings.

When Weinstien was mulling whether to officially leave LinkedIn after three years, he first made sure the idea behind Cursor was sound. Weinstien met with several high-ranking data employees at companies around Silicon Valley and asked them if Cursor would be something they could use. The answer, Weinstein found, was a resounding yes.

It was only then that Weinstein decided to quit because he realised that he wasn’t the only one running into issues with siloed or fragmented data.

“A lot of them said they would write a check for this immediately,” he said. “Even though you have chief data officers and CIOs whose job it is to help deploy technology to help analysts, they haven’t done a great job yet on this collaboration problem of how you help people understand what others are doing and capture that in a way they can see it.”

Cursor is free for anyone to download because the startup is focusing on “wide adoption” in its early stages. Eventually, the company will start charging large businesses after it starts to take off with analysts.

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