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_Who we are


Primer is a machine intelligence company headquartered in San Francisco.

We build machines that can read and write, automating the analysis of very large datasets. Primer's technology is deployed by some of the world’s largest government agencies, financial institutions, and Fortune 50 companies.

Our mission is to accelerate our understanding of the world.


Sean Gourley

CEO and Founder

Before Primer, Sean was co-founder & CTO of Quid, an augmented-intelligence company. He holds a PhD in physics from Oxford, where his research as a Rhodes Scholar focused on complex systems and the mathematical patterns underlying modern war. He sits on the Board of Directors at Anadarko (NYSE:APC) and is a TED Fellow.

Amy Heineike

VP of Product Engineering

Amy leads the Product Engineering team at Primer. She is passionate about using applied machine learning techniques to build software that tells stories from data. She was previously the Director of Mathematics at Quid and has an MA from Cambridge University.

Barry Dauber

VP of Business Development

Barry has led key strategic relationships with some of the largest partners and customers in the world for both large organizations and small while at Cloudera, Topsy Labs (acquired by Apple), and Deloitte Consulting. Barry graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with degrees in Economics and Government.

Ben Van Roo

VP of Solutions Architecture

Ben leads Solutions Architecture at Primer and designs quantitative solutions for our customers. Before Primer, he was VP of Data Science at Chegg and an analyst at the RAND Corporation working with the Department of Defense. He has a B.S. in Computer Science, an MBA and a PhD in Operational Research from the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Ed Harris

SVP of Engineering

Ed leads the engineering team at Primer. His aspiration is to use data to educate, make decisions, and drive insights into the world around us. Before Primer, Ed was the head of infrastructure compute at Salesforce.com and was an early member of the Bing team at Microsoft. His background is in distributed computation, storage, and web search.

Stephanie Kohl

Director of Design

Stephanie is the design lead at Primer and draws upon deep experience in data analytics and healthcare technology. She has a passion for finding great solutions to complex problems and opinions on all things visual. Stephanie has a B.A. in Graphic Design and Illustration from the University of Miami.

John Bohannon

Director of Science

John leads Primer's strategic partnerships with research and media institutions and directs the development of scientific knowledge tools. He worked for a decade as an award-winning investigative data journalist based in Europe and embedded with NATO forces in Afghanistan. He has a PhD in molecular biology from Oxford University.

James Reid

Director of Operations

With deep experience across a range of industries, James has seen it all. From creating new supply chains for New Zealand wineries, to doubling the size of a litigation consulting firm to nearly 1000 employees over 3 years. Now James is thrilled to be building Primer’s operational foundation to enable our rapid growth.

Emmanuel R. Yera

Director of Product Engineering

Emmanuel leads the development of data-centric products by leveraging his expertise in machine learning and natural language processing techniques. He has a B.S. in Computer Science from San José State University and a PhD in Biomedical Medical Informatics from UCSF, where he combined his knowledge of statistics and linguistics to accurately predict new side-effects of small molecule therapeutics.

Leonard Apeltsin

Senior Data Scientist

Leonard develops mathematically elegant solutions to complex, data-driven problems. Prior to Primer, he worked in academia, uncovering hidden patterns in genetically-linked diseases. His discoveries have been published in the subsidiaries of journals Science and Nature. He holds BS degrees in Biology and Computer Science from CMU, and a Phd in Bioinformatics from UCSF.

Anna Connolly

Director of Customer Success

Anna leads the team that ensures Primer's solutions deliver maximum value to customers. Before Primer, she spent over a decade as an analyst and team leader focusing on military conflicts and geopolitical crises for the US Government. She has an MA in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins and a BA in International Relations and Economics from Brown University.

Brian Raymond

Director, National Security Group

Brian helps lead Primer’s National Security Group. While in government, Brian served on the NSC where he worked as an advisor to the President on Middle East issues. He also spent several years with the CIA where he completed two war zone tours. Brian earned his MBA from Dartmouth and his MA/BA from the University of California, Davis.

Chad Mills

Director of Product Engineering

Chad leads the development of the Global product, using applied machine learning and natural language processing techniques to help people quickly find insights buried in large quantities of text. He previously led data science and applied machine learning teams at Microsoft and Facebook. He has a PhD in computational linguistics from The University of Washington.

Jon Kerry-Tyerman

VP of Business Operations, Primer Legal

Jon leads the legal vertical at Primer, integrating machine intelligence into legal department and law firm workflows. Before joining Primer, Jon held a series of leadership roles at LexisNexis and Everlaw in applied R&D, product management, strategy, and business development. He holds a B.A. from the University of California at Davis and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco.

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