Our Story

Ten years ago, Ninja Metrics’ two co-founders (Profs. Dmitri Williams and Jaideep Srivastava) were working on research around consumer data. As part of the VW Observatory, their team largely invented the field of data-driven research for the game industry. Back before there was such a label as “Big Data,” they working on a task for the intelligence community, essentially trying to develop tools to find bad guys. By taking consumer data and mapping it against real-world individuals, the team was able to know what kind of person any consumer was.
Looking at how you act online shows what kind of “real” person you are offline. The team became very good at these models, but then they achieved a big leap forward when they combined not just the targeted person’s data, but their fellow consumers’ as well. Consider that we might know a lot about you, but if we also know who you’re connected to, then we get even better about predicting what you are like.
It was this simple idea of connections between people that lead the team to start modeling those connections against actions. When one person did something, did it lead to another doing it? It turns out it often does, and this–not social media posting–was the key to understanding how influence truly works, and can be reliably measured. 10 years later, this technology has become so refined that we are able to apply it to many industries, simply by examining transactional data–whether it’s what someone watches, buys or plays–we can tell whether they cause others to do the same.
It’s not your typical startup origin story!

Meet the Ninjas

• The Founders 

Dr. Dmitri Williams

President and Co-Founder

Dmitri Williams (PhD, University of Michigan) is the CEO, Sensei, and Co-Founder of Ninja Metrics, Inc. Dmitri is a 15-year veteran of games and community research, and a world-recognized leader in the science of online metrics and analysis. The author of more than 40 peer-reviewed articles on gamer psychology and large-scale data analysis, Dmitri’s work has been featured on CNN, Fox, the Economist, the New York Times, and most major news outlets.

He has testified as an expert on video games and gamers before the U.S. Senate, and is a regular speaker at industry and academic conferences. Dmitri moonlights as a healer and raid leader, plays a wicked Ashe in League of Legends. He loves data, and believes more of it, used intelligently, makes the world a better place.

Dr. Jaideep Srivastava

CSO and Co-Founder

Jaideep Srivastava (University of California, Berkeley) is currently a Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Minnesota, where he directs a laboratory conducting research in Web Mining, Social Media Analytics, and Health Analytics. An experienced technology leader with a mix of innovation, management and communication abilities, Jaideep has experience at various levels in technology/products/engineering in the industry, including Amazon.com, Persistent Systems, Yodlee and Lancet Software.

An IEEE Fellow, his research has been supported by government agencies, including NSF, NASA, ARDA, DARPA, IARPA, NIH, CDC, US Army, US Air Force, and MNDoT; and industries, including IBM, United Technologies, Eaton, Honeywell, Cargill, and Huawei Telecom. He has given over 150 invited talks in over 30 countries, including more than a dozen keynote addresses at major conferences.

• The Management Team 

Yuri Pikover

CEO and Board Member

Yuri has been instrumental in a series of Southern California tech companies. In 1993 he co-founded Calabasas-based Xylan Corporation, which invented network-wide switching technology and grew to over $300 million in revenues in four years. Xylan was sold to Alcatel for $2 billion in 1999.

Fabian Schonholz

COO

Fabian Schonholz has been in technology from a young age. He has worked in a range of firms from Fortune 50 companies to start-ups as a developer, architect, CTO and COO.

Currently COO of Ninja Metrics, he is responsible for Operations and Sales, as well as Technology and Marketing. Previous positions include COO at Gumyio, VP of Technology at Internet Brands, CTO at Zumbox and Houdiny Entertainment Group, and VP of Technology at Pictage. In his free time Fabian enjoys playing guitar and singing in front of audiences as well as hiking, mountaineering, fishing and archery.

Jeremy Monroe

CCO

Jeremy is responsible for helping clients take advantage of the Katana platform and bridging the gap between the science of Ninja Metrics and practical publishing application.

He brings with him experience as a veteran gaming industry executive, having served as General Manager of Wargaming America where he directed the launch of its publishing presence in North America. He has early CRM experience in England with Accenture, and then returned to the US where he worked in banking then Activision, Sulake and Frogster.

Peter Williams

CFO

Peter is responsible for the financial management, planning and reporting functions along with risk management and HR.

Prior to joining the company he was the CEO of Grenville Software and CFO of Adcotech.

• Board of Directors 

Mark Kolokotrones

Mr. Kolokotrones founded Castle Knoll Investments LLC, a financial services firm, in 2007, where he currently serves as President.  He also co-founded Knight and Bishop, L.P. a venture capital firm, in 2013.  Mr. Kolokotrones graduated from Harvard College with a degree in Economics.

Bob Hawk

Bob Hawk brings a wealth of expertise and contacts to his role as Venture Partner at DCM, and provides guidance and support for many of the firm’s portfolio companies. He has had various CEO-level leadership positions at major telecommunications companies and has guided numerous private companies through financings and initial public offerings.

Robin Kaminsky

Robin is President and Co-founder of 1st Street Partners, Inc., a venture capital firm. She has extensive experience in corporate management and marketing, including responsibility for high growth rates in the video game industry and consumer markets. Robin doubled worldwide revenue at Activision by adding $1.5B in sales and delivering record profit.

• Ninja Researchers 

Edward Castronova

(PhD – Wisconsin), Indiana University

Ted is the world’s foremost expert on game economies, and specializes more broadly in the study of games, technology, and society. Notable works include Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games, Exodus to the Virtual World, Virtual Economies: Analysis and Design, and Wildcat Currency: The Virtual Transformation of the Economy.

Noshir “Nosh” Contractor

(PhD – University of Southern California), Northwestern University

Nosh is one of the world’s foremost experts on the science of social networks, having literally written the book on their use and understanding. He has been funded by the NSF, NASA, NIH, CIA, and MacArthur Foundation and written 250+ peer-reviewed papers on networks and communication. Nosh is one of the founding members of the VWE group that lead to Ninja Metrics and serves as a key advisor.

Marshall “Scott” Poole

(PhD – Wisconsin), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Scott is one of the world’s foremost experts on group behavior, change, process and the author of 11 books on groups and organizational communication. Scott is one of the founding members of the VWE group and has been using MMO data to test theories for nearly a decade.

Brian Keegan

(PhD – Northwestern), Northeastern University

Brian is an expert on network science, virality and computational social science, with an emphasis in game-related data. His research has examined networks of cheaters in online games, breaking news collaborations on Wikipedia, and creative design on Threadless.

Cuihua Cindy Shen

(PhD – University of Southern California), University of Texas at Dallas.

Cindy is an expert on social network analysis, with a series of published articles focusing on the social and psychological aspect of games, particularly how people create, maintain and are influenced by social networks.

Tracy Kennedy

(PhD – University of Toronto), Brock University.

Tracy is an expert on gamer psychology, identity, gender, shooters and big data machine learning models. She will out-analyze the best and then frag you when she’s done.

Kyong Shim

(PhD – Minnesota), Singapore Management University in Singapore.

Kyong is an expert in data mining, social computing, and learning with potential applications in military training, educational psychology, and game and virtual world development.

Rabindra “Robby” Ratan

(PhD – University of Southern California), Michigan State University

Robby is an expert on avatar-based psychology, learning, team trust, and game data, with 10 years of experience running experiments on MMO and console titles.

PARTNERSHIPS

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