Careers at Neo Technology
Neo Technology’s mission is to help the world make sense of data.
Emil Eifrem was a co-founder of a startup in Sweden that was developing an enterprise content management system – which is essentially like an online filing system, with virtual folders. The system included a relational database management system (RDBMS). As the company grew, it faced difficulty in using the RDBMS, leading to much wasted time and productivity among staff.
The group members tried to figure out a solution to the problem, which they believed was the database’s table structure. They decided to see if there was an offering on the market that utilized a graph structure instead. When they could not find any, they decided to build a solution themselves. They developed it as an internal tool and then started using it actively in 2003 – calling it Neo4J.
The team members tried to commercialize the solution. Unfortunately, they encountered little demand for a new type of database. This changed in the mid-2000s, when Amazon and Google invented their own databases and caused a buzz. The group founded a firm to market its offering, Neo Technology. Within a few years, it had raised significant funding and moved to Silicon Valley.
Business model of Neo Technology
Neo has a segmented market business model, with customers that have slightly different business needs. The company targets its offerings at two groups: Community (consumers) and Enterprise (businesses and other organizations).
Neo offers two primary value propositions: performance and brand/status.
The company’s solution demonstrates strong performance through the following characteristics:
- It is a native graph database, so it can process and store graphs from the ground up
- It manages and stores interconnected data, resulting in significant speed and scale
- Its native graph processing enables evaluation of results at a rate of millions of hops per second
High-profile examples of specific positive outcomes include the following:
- Telenor Norway used Neo’s solution to reduce query and response times from several minutes to seconds, and even milliseconds in certain cases
- Cerved used Neo’s solution to double the level of service for identification of business owners from 12 seconds to 67 milliseconds
- eBay used Neo’s solution to create queries that require 10-100 times less code and add functionality that was not previously possible
The company has established a strong brand due to its performance. It bills its Neo4J solution as the first and leading graph database in the world. The product is used by thousands of organizations, including more than 50 members of the Global 2000. These clients include Adidas Group, Wal-Mart, and Pitney Bowes. It has also won many honors, including InfoWorld Technology of the Year (2013-2014), the IDG InfoWorld Bossie award (2013-2014), and placement in the SD Times 100 (2014)
Neo’s main channel is its website, though it also maintains a direct salesforce. The company promotes its offering through its social media pages, webinars, and participation in conferences.
Neo’s customer relationship is primarily of a personal assistance nature. The company assists customers in the following ways:
- Training Services – The company offers a program called GraphAcademy, through which it offers online training and classroom training (public and private/onsite). It also provides a certification program through which students can become a Neo4J Certified Professional.
- Professional Services – The company maintains a professional services team that offers a “technical boot camp” featuring a mix of consulting and training services designed to help projects get off the ground. The camp lasts for four days.
Despite this orientation, there is also a self-service component. The company’s website features a “Resources” section that includes self-help tools such as white papers, data sheets, eBooks, case studies, and podcasts. There is also a community element in the form of a forum.
Neo’s business model entails maintaining a robust software platform for its customers.
Neo maintains the following types of partnerships:
- Neo4J Membership - An entry-level program for partners with a focus on services and technology. There are no qualifying criteria and it is free of charge.
- Neo4J Solution Partner – A program for authorized resellers of Neo4J subscriptions, who also provide clients with any assistance they may need with implementation. They have built their own successful Neo4J practice and have exhibited expertise through certified staff.
- Neo4J OEM Partner – A program for original equipment manufacturers who incorporate and embed Neo4J into their existing solutions and platforms to create new software applications.
Specific partners across these programs include Amazon Web Services, Big Data Tech, Cisco, GrayMatter, HP, Pondera, Quantum, Setia, Talend, UnifyLabs, Windows Azure, and Zenoss. Benefits for partners include sales materials and tools, training discounts, priority support, invitations to Neo events, participation in co-marketing events, and access to partner enablement materials.
Neo’s main resource is its proprietary software platform, which serves thousands of organizations.
It also depends on its human resources in the form of engineering employees to maintain and update the platform, training/consulting staff to provide education/advisory services, and customer service staff to provide support.
Lastly, as startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $44.1 million from five investors as of January 2015.
Neo has a value-driven structure, aiming to provide a premium proposition through significant personal service and frequent product enhancements.
Its biggest cost driver is likely marketing expenses, a fixed expense. Other major drivers are in the areas of customer support/operations and sales, both fixed costs.
Neo has one revenue stream: the subscription fees it charges annually for access to its software platform.
There are two subscription plans -- Community and Enterprise. Sales staff must be contacted directly for pricing quotes.
info: Emil earned a degree at The Institute of Technology at Linköping University. He previously served as the Chief Technology Officer of Windh AB. He is a frequent conference speaker and author of publications on NOSQL databases.
info: Lars earned a B.S. in Business Administration at the Stockholm School of Business and an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the Royal Institute of Technology. He previously served as the founding VP of Worldwide Sales at SugarCRM.
info: Johan earned a degree at The Institute of Technology at Linköping University. He previously served as the Chief Developer at Windh AB and as a Consultant at SCAN COIN Industries AB. He has 10+ years of experience in Java programming.
info: Jim earned a Ph.D. in Computing Science from the Newcastle University, UK. He previously served as a Professional Services Director at ThoughtWorks where he worked on large-scale computing systems in the telecom and finance industries.
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