Interview with Javier de la Torre, CEO, CARTO

Javier de la Torre
[mnky_team name=”Javier de la Torre” position=”CEO, CARTO”][/mnky_team]
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[mnky_testimonial_slider][mnky_testimonial name=”” author_dec=”” position=”Designer”]“Location intelligence technology needs to be more accessible and closer to the specific areas of expertise professionals understand already.”[/mnky_testimonial][/mnky_testimonial_slider]

On Marketing Technology

MTS: Tell us about your role at CARTO and how you got here? What inspired you to start a location data intelligence company?
I am the Founder and CEO at CARTO. While I do a bit of everything, I particularly focus on the long term strategy for the company and staying close to our customers, ensuring we are understanding market needs that drive the future of our Location Intelligence industry.

I started my career as a scientist working on biodiversity and climate change issues. For a long time I had to work on analyzing large location datasets and effectively communicating the results for those that needed to take action in conservation or climate change preparedness. I became very frustrated with the gaps between scientists, policymakers and the general public. The average person does not understand how to interpret scientific studies and results, which led me on a mission to enable better analysis and dissemination of data for the benefit of everyone. That’s how I got into building CARTO.

MTS: How does the CARTO Engine bring together the power of multiplatform data, technology, and cartography?
The next 5 million GIS users will not know what GIS currently means to us today. The next wave of spatial professionals are going to be developers, data analysts and data scientists – not GIS experts with highly specialized training; having to attend GIS programs for two years or more just to create change. Location intelligence technology needs to be more accessible and closer to the specific areas of expertise professionals understand already. Professionals in all fields need to be able to pick up Location Intelligence in order solve the problems that matter to them. With CARTO we are looking at simplifying how people access, visualize, and analyze location data so they can quickly deploy alert systems, spatial data dashboards or custom applications.

MTS: How do you see the trends in mobile marketing and social media messaging influencing the adoption of location data platforms?
Mobile marketing has been one of the first verticals to benefit from new streams of Location Data. Leveraging real time location data streams of user locations allow for better targeting of users for advertising and geomarketing. Today, the same data, but aggregated and anonymized is what we are using for creating what we call a real time census. Instead of doing analysis based on 10 year old census data, now we can have data that is 15 minutes old, having higher precision and accuracy than ever before. This is going to change the way we solve location problems and optimize solutions dramatically. All of it started with mobile marketing and social media platforms, now we are taking it to the next level.

Also Read: CARTO Brings Geospatial Data and Analytics to Salesforce Einstein Analytics

MTS: What’s the idea behind CARTO’s Data Observatory and Basemaps?
CARTO Data Observatory is built on the idea that accessibility to data is essential for performing spatial analysis. A main step in the Location Intelligence formula is enriching your data with spatial measurements so that you can contextualize your own data and analysis with information about specific locations. For example, analyzing demographics, income, employment, and real estate data of where your customers are can help you identify similar areas with untapped client potential. Having an up-to-date index of location data enables our clients to perform not just spatial analytics, but also predictive modeling and prescriptive planning by suggesting the best way to optimize for a site. The more data we bring in the smarter it becomes.

Our Basemaps are another service that offers up to date data for contextualizing data in space. CARTO basemaps are synced with OpenStreetMap to make sure the most accurate road and building data is represented, and our styles lend themselves to a wide range of uses from creating stunning maps, to practical applications for real estate and routing.

MTS: What startups are you watching/keen on right now?
There is a lot of buzz going on around Machine Learning and AI. For example, the guys at DataRobot are doing some great work. In the same space, I like Dataiku and their work in enabling data scientists. In the AR space, the intersection of 3D mapping to locate objects is going to be fantastic. On a more B2B space, Celonis is having some interesting breakthroughs and I enjoy what they’re doing as well. Another interesting space is in the on-device AI. is innovating here unlike anyone else and they’re an emerging company to watch.

MTS: What tools does your marketing stack consist of in 2017?
Our marketing stack is designed to provide the best resources, to the right people, when they need them. We use a marketing automation system (Hubspot) for a majority of our communication, including email and social posts. Our marketing automation system transfers information to our sales CRM (Salesforce) so that our sales team can have more valuable conversations with people who reach out to us. We’ve found success in our campaigns using native platforms for digital ads.

In the future, we’ll be experimenting with implementing chat, specifically chatbots on the website and across the customer lifecycle.

MTS: Would you tell us about your standout digital campaign? (Who was your target audience and how did you measure success?)
In July, we released “Location Intelligence for Dummies,” a 24-page e-book packed with useful frameworks, case studies, and additional resources to get started with location intelligence. The campaign was targeted at business executives and data analysts that wanted to learn how to better understand their location data and adopt best practices around collecting, visualizing, and analyzing that data.

To date, the book has been downloaded over 5,000 times through organic shares and is a great conversation starter for many of our customers and prospects.

MTS: How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?
AI is tremendously expanding the possibilities of processing and modeling location data. With so many new sensors, the future of business optimization is clearly going to be assisted by AI. A big part of our strategy is ensuring we rethink how our users will be doing analytics and how our platform will assist them.

Our data science team at CARTO are always on the cutting edge of AI, and that means we get the benefit of applying it across the company. In the end, being a Data Driven company means having more possibilities to capitalize the AI revolution.

This is How I Work

MTS: One word that best describes how you work.

MTS: What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Google apps, Docs, Spreadsheets, slides, etc. We would not have been able to get where we are without cloud-based/collaboration tools, spreadsheets and relational databases. Of course Slack, Gmail, and Wunderlist have been key too.

MTS: What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?
I’m not sure how smart it is, but I like to go offline and focus on emails or a specific project for two hours. Reducing the default meeting duration on my calendar to 30 minutes or less and removing the Twitter app from my phone are close seconds.

MTS: What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information?)
The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf. I find most information now in the obvious mix of blogs and podcasts. We also have a channel in slack with stuff to read that we curate as a team.

MTS: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Wherever you go, there you are

MTS: Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Jack Dangermond, President at ESRI.

MTS: Thank you Javier! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

Also Read: Dreamforce TechBytes with Scott Brinker, VP Platform Ecosystem, HubSpot

I am the founder / CEO of VigLink. We are making the web better by making every link intelligent and valuable.


CARTO leads the world of location intelligence, empowering any organization and individual to discover and predict key insights through location data. With CARTO’s intuitive location intelligence platform, analysts and developers build self-service location based apps that help optimize operational performance, strategic investments, and everyday decisions. CARTO’s platform makes location an accessible and active dimension of analysis, allowing anyone to effortlessly connect location data to gain insights. The unique power of CARTO is that data can now be explored with location context, empowering everyone with faster time-to-insight and accurate predictability. Founded in 2012 by a team of experts in geospatial development, big data analytics, and visualization techniques, CARTO is based in New York City and Spain, with additional locations in London, Washington DC, and Estonia. CARTO has a team of 100 employees, a portfolio of 1,200 customers including BBVA, BCG, NYC, and Twitter and more than 200,000 users over the globe. The company is backed by investors such as Accel and Salesforce Ventures.

[mnky_heading title=”MarTech Interview Series” link=”|||”]

The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.

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