Executive Interview: Emil Eifrem, co-founder and CEO, Neo Technology

neo technology

Name: Emil Eifrem
Position & Company: Co-founder and CEO, Neo Technology
Period of time in the role: Since the founding of the company in 2007
Twitter ID: @emileifrem

Can you describe your role and what you do in one sentence?

I am the founder of Neo4j and the CEO of Neo Technology.

Tell us a little about your company.

Neo Technology is the commercial sponsor of Neo4j, the world’s leading graph database. We started in Sweden, and we have our main development lab there, but the company headquarters are now in Silicon Valley.

What is your personal style in business in three words?

Passionate, genuine, consensus-oriented, great at math (especially counting).

What does your service offer to those in the online dating industry?

The online dating industry cares about interactions and connections. Those two concepts are closely linked. If someone has a connection to another person, through a shared friend or a shared interest, they are much more likely to interact.

For certain types of queries, such as friends of friends, a graph database is 1000 times faster than a relational database. This is important for mobile devices, and for building web pages quickly. People will not wait 60 seconds for your query to complete.

What sets your company apart from other database providers?

Conventional databases, such as MySQL and Oracle, are not designed to help figure out if two people share a connection. They were designed to quickly retrieve specific information about an individual, such as for computing a payroll. In using these conventional databases, there is no efficient way to figure out even slightly complex connections. This is however what graph databases excel at.

What are you most proud of in your role?

My amazing colleagues and our extraordinary community, both of which teach me new things every day.

What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for the industry?

I’m not an expert on the online dating industry, however, I do know a few things when it comes to data. And I believe that there is a huge opportunity for the online dating industry to really start leveraging connected data, not just isolated “data islands,” to provide an overall better experience for its users.

Which online dating companies do you work with? 

We power Down (formerly known as Bang With Friends), Snap Interactive, Hinge, Avalable (Singles Solution), Match.com, and eHarmony. Additionally, there are some other dating sites that are building new features in Neo4j as we speak however, I can’t mention publicly just yet. If you want a technical deep dive, David Fox, Big Data Engineer at Snap Interactive, recently spoke at the GraphConnect conference in New York.

In what ways have you helped them?

Online dating is mathematically a graph theory problem. Dating sites can add new features such as finding friends of friends. Online dating is technically a graph theory problem.

Let’s say you run a dating web site and you want help find a good match for a certain individual. If you run your site on a conventional database, you can see one “hop” out from that individual, and see its direct connections. But with a graph database, you can see many more “hops” out from that individual, for example friends of friends, or friends of friends of friends. Which approach do you think allows you to find a smarter match?

What does the rest of 2014 hold for your company?
I hope that by the end of 2014, most of the online dating community has had a serious look at using graph databases to improve their business. I also think that 2014 will see a “graph rush” in one or more new industries (as with online dating in 2013 and online job search in 2012).

 â€‹Visit Neo Technology’s website here.