Qstream’s Duncan Lennox, CEO and co-founder
What’s your background?
I’m a geek and serial entrepreneur who graduated from University College Dublin and moved to the U.S. to open the U.S. operation of my first company but never really left as I was, and am, back so often. I joined Qstream in 2008 after co-founding WBT Systems, a Dublin-based developer of an award-winning eLearning platform. When Harvard offered me a chance to partner with an amazing physician who had pioneered a cool technology they wanted to commercialize, I jumped at the opportunity because I knew it was something truly game changing. Beyond that I love gadgets, I am an on-again/off-again practitioner of Aikido, and a private pilot, born and raised in Dublin.
Why are you planning to come to the Summit? What do you hope to get out of it?
Web Summit brings together a great cross-section of the tech industry and beyond now too) It’s a rare event where two entrepreneurs working nights and weekends on their great idea get a chance to not only hear from the world’s most successful entrepreneurs but could easily end up sharing war stories over a Guinness. This immersion and collaboration is how some of the best ideas are born. I feel so strongly about this that our entire engineering team — from both Dublin and America — will be taking time away from their hectic days to join me and my co-founder this year for the conference.
Is there anyone in particular you’d really like to meet at the Summit?
I think it’s exciting to hear from the caliber of people that Web Summit attracts. To me what is most exciting about the last 3-5 years in Ireland has been a real surge in the growth of a true start-up ecosystem. Web Summit is both a validation of that and continues to fuel it. I’m an enterprise software guy so I am always interested to hear tales from people who have built enterprise companies. In terms of their insights into what’s coming down the road, someone like Werner Vogels from Amazon is always fascinating to listen to. On the consumer products side, I am a big Nest and Tony Fadell fan.
Why Dublin relative to setting up elsewhere?
Talent, talent, talent. Dublin is a natural location for us in so many ways. Having built and led development teams here for more than two decades, I know first-hand the quality of local talent – certainly long before Facebook and Google did! It’s the finest place in the world to hire mobile-savvy software developers. Plus, Dublin gives us an entry point into the EU, and we have strong roots here. Frontline Ventures was the lead Series A investor in Qstream, with seed funding from Enterprise Ireland and Delta Partners. We are also quite proud to say that former UCD CIO, Internet Hall of Famer and angel investor Dr. Dennis Jennings, is a board member of Qstream Ltd.
What does the Qstream platform do?
We develop a mobile, enterprise platform that helps sales reps become better at their jobs by playing a game on their iPhone or iPad in minutes a day. They compete against their peers in competitions and for status on leaderboards, all the while having core knowledge and skills reinforced. It’s all based on a decade of research conducted at Harvard Medical School into how the brain actually works.
What is special about this solution?
Today’s sales process is broken, with sales managers relying on imprecise methods of understanding what reps know and don’t know — and how reps perform on sales calls –I n order for them to deliver upon revenue goals. Most sales training — or “death by PowerPoint” as reps like to call it – rarely delivers, with some 80% of information lost in the first month after the event. Expecting busy reps to follow-on with refresher webinars or update emails is ineffective and time consuming.
Qstream is a pioneer in combining brain science and engagement techniques to drive long-term knowledge retention and behavior change. Our approach has been clinically proven in over 20 randomized trials to boost performance and improve outcomes. But we hide all the science by turning it into a fun game on your phone. It’s kind of like “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” for sales reps.
What are you working on now?
We just completed a major new version of our platform and it’s getting tremendous reviews. New capabilities exploit our robust data collection and analytics engine to provide unique insights to sales management on the strengths of their teams. For example, the system will serve up targeted coaching opportunities with onboard communication tools that supervisors take immediate action to help a specific rep or sales team improve. Or easy-to-use “heat maps” that let them know what their teams know and don’t know within and across teams, divisions, regions, etc. We also have some exciting partnerships in the works, and recently joined up with Salesforce.com to integrate the capabilities of Qstream into the workflow of their users.
Where do you hope to be in 3 to 5 years’ time?
We have a huge opportunity to make a big impact with Qstream. We are very focused on helping sales forces today but our technology could be applied to many different areas. So I plan to spend at least the next 3-5 years helping drive Qstream to great heights! Building a company is not a 2 or 3 year thing if you are trying to build something with scale and longevity. That’s also why you have to be passionate about what you do and really believe in it, because you could easily spend a decade or more at it.
How is it trying to develop and scale a project and product?
It’s challenging, but exhilarating. You reach inflection points periodically (for example, it might be each time you double in size) that typically requires completely changing how you do things (whether that is how you build the product, how you hire people, etc.) We’re on track to quadruple revenues this year and to grow from just eight people in early 2013 to about 50 in the next 6 months. It’s exciting to hear the positive customer feedback and see the difference we are making in their business. That is our goal at the end of the day – not to sell a product for its own sake, but to solve problems for our customers.
What should I have asked you?
How many jobs I have open in Dublin right now – and how to apply!
Go to http://qstream.com/company/careers/
Also which Pub Crawl I am planning to start with during Web Summit.
More About Duncan Lennox
Irish tech entrepreneur Duncan Lennox joined up with award-winning physician and Harvard professor Dr. B. Price Kerfoot in Boston to found Qstream in 2008. Under Duncan’s leadership and strategic vision, Qstream has become a fast-growth, venture backed provider of mobile sales enablement and analytics, capturing the attention of some of the world’s largest enterprise accounts including AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Xerox, Parametric Technology Corporation, Oppenheimer and others. Prior to Qstream, he co-founded and served as CTO of WBT Systems, Dublin-based developers of an award-winning eLearning platform used by millions of corporate professionals.
More about Qstream:
- Qstream’s platform is all about the brain science behind smarter selling. As technology has automated some components of the sales process, there is growing recognition worldwide that the sales profession worldwide is overdue for a change. For example a UK survey recently showed that some 60% of UK sales reps lacked basic people skills for selling. There’s also recognition that CRM systems are not enough – as Duncan likes to say, “CRM systems don’t close deals, people do” and that while certain aspects of the sales process have been automated, other aspects, such as basic sales rep personal activities, have remained essentially untouched for decades. In addition two leading industry analyst firms, Forrester Research and Aragon Research, have recently either filed major reports on the explosion of sales enablement technologies, or called the sector a hot one to watch. Qstream is leading this wave.
- Prior to Web Summit Qstream will debut a significant new version of platform that expands its predictive analytics capabilities – so that managers and executives can spot sales-related trends at a glance, identify proactive coaching opportunities, and gain actionable insights from the massive data volumes that Qstream collects about what sales teams really know, and whether they’re able sell in today’s more demanding environment.