Abdou Ayoub

The power of prediction—YSU alumnus brings data analytics firm ‘home’ to Ohio

Abdou Ayoub, 2004, BSE

Though Abdou Ayoub was born in Lebanon, he calls plans to expand his global data analytics company to northeast Ohio a homecoming - of sorts.

“I associate this side of the world as being home; there is more of a sense of home here than there. This is where my adult self was formed,” he said.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from YSU in 2004, Ayoub received a master’s in Engineering and Management from Case Western Reserve University in 2005 and then worked for several years as a consultant for Cleveland-based Deloitte Consulting. He visited manufacturing facilities in remote U.S. areas, evaluating production processes and determining ways to improve. An opportunity to manage a project in France ended successfully and opened his eyes to future possibilities.

“At 26 years old, I managed my first million-dollar project. It went live on time and under budget, and that doesn’t happen often,” Ayoub explained.

In 2010, he took a leap of faith and started his own company, Paragon Shift. Originally, the business focused on helping clients find software solutions to fit their needs. Five years ago, the company started using data analytics and artificial intelligence to create custom solutions.

“It’s important they understand what their data looks like, and you’d be surprised how many don’t,” said Ayoub, whose company studies client data, including any anomalies, before beginning to predict.

His team has built multiple software options which serve the education, banking and healthcare sectors in Beiruit, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. He cannot divulge client names but provides this glimpse into his work and success—

  • A K-12 multinational client wanted to know which students were at risk of failing.
  • A Middle East University wanted to explore the likelihood of a student completing the chosen program or major.
  • In both cases, Paragon Shift created a program that  successfully predicted outcomes more than 85% of the time.
  • A Lebanon-based bank wanted to increase the adoption rate of consumers who received a promotional mailer.

The software solution that predicted which customers were more likely to adopt the product in question lifted the bank’s success rate by 35%.

Ayoub, who has registered his company in Ohio and is searching for a physical location, plans to expand his team by the end of the year.

Looking back on his time as a student, Ayoub credits the YSU Honors College with instilling in him the value of giving back. He is working on ways to build a service-oriented culture in  his company. He also recalls the importance of getting involved in organizations and activities outside the classroom.

“Social interactions are what drive your work environment, and that’s as important if not moreso than the tech,” Ayoub said.

He offered advice to current students to take the time to figure out what they are passionate about.

“Always think, ‘why am I doing this? What story do I have to tell when I’m done?' You might as well have a good story,” Ayoub said.