David Gerster is a Silicon Valley data scientist and investor. He currently leads a data science team at Groupon, and spends some large chunk of his work hours with Hadoop. His firsthand experience with the many forms of data pain has motivated him to invest in startups, with the (less than completely altruistic) hope of sparing others from similar pain. He has presented on a range of topics including MapReduce, A/B testing, and decision tree visualization.
Mr. Gerster arrived in Silicon Valley in 1998 to attend the Haas School of Business. During his second year he received a Price Fellowship in Entrepreneurship, and reached the semifinals of the UC Berkeley Business Plan Competition with an idea for a contextual advertising company. His team dropped out of the competition after receiving funding from one of the VC judges, and he spent his last semester setting up the new company, christened DeltaClick. DeltaClick was unable to raise a Series B, and closed its doors in June 2001.
After DeltaClick, he worked as a securitization modeling consultant before joining Yahoo in April 2003. At Yahoo, he managed various data teams and led Project Magellan, an initiative to collect URL data from Yahoo Toolbar and use this data in the Y search algorithm. Magellan launched at the end of 2007, and several improvements to search ranking launched at the end of 2008. (Yahoo later shut down its search engine as part of their July 2009 agreement with Microsoft.)
He left Yahoo in February 2009 and consulted briefly at Cloudera before joining Microsoft's social search team in May 2009. In June 2010 he joined Groupon as the third employee in Silicon Valley, and spent the next two years hiring data people. Today he leads a data science team focused on A/B testing and predictive modeling.