By Geri Stengel, Forbes
Janelle Benjamin and her husband, Joost van Dreunen, started SuperData, a gaming analytics company, in 2011. He was graduating from Columbia with a Ph.D. in video games and was uninspired by the jobs for which he was interviewing. Instead, he wanted to start a company, not one that developed video games but one that served the industry.
Van Dreunen thought video game distribution to consumers would go in the same direction as music — moving from selling physical copies in retail stores to selling online. Back then, “digital distribution sales were in the single digits,” said Benjamin. “Nobody was tracking digital distribution. People backed into digital sales numbers by simply taking 10% of retail.”
Benjamin received her undergraduate degree from NYU Stern School of Business, where she studied statistics and financial mathematics. Having built financial models for Deutsche Bank, crunching numbers and business modeling was second nature to her. As an analyst for BuzzMetrics, a social media monitoring research firm that Nielsen Online acquired, she understood the importance of providing industry analytics. For a business she started with friends, she oversaw operations, including payroll, bookkeeping, taxes, and insurance.
The two had complementary skills. Van Dreunen became the creative visionary and CEO of SuperData, and Benjamin the COO, whose job it was to operationalize the vision.
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