Stephen Purpura

CEO & Founder

Purpura is the founder and CEO of Context Relevant, a predictive analytics software company in Seattle. He is PhD ABD in Information Science at Cornell University where he performed analyses on terabyte scale data sets and conducted crowd-sourced experiments to enhance Web search systems.

The impetus behind Context Relevant technology is a result of the insights gained from Purpura’s 20 years of experience as a data scientist, an academic, a production software developer, and a leading expert in artificial intelligence, machine learning, political micro-targeting and predictive analytics.

Purpura is the inventor of a special type of web cookie for web browsing and the application stateful packet inspection firewall on a PC. He has also worked on data science problems for Wall Street, on “Big Data” analysis for every election cycle from 2002 to 2008, in Web search, and other fields.

Previously, he held various roles at Microsoft, including the Chief Security Officer of MSFDC, one of the first Internet bill payment systems.


Cornell University
ABD PhD., Information Science

Harvard University, Harvard Kennedy School
Master of Public Policy

Harvard University, participant in the Program on Networked Governance at the John F. Kennedy School of Government

University of Washington
BA, Political Science

Stephen Purpura – Fun Facts

Making decisions with data isn’t just my avocation, it affects all areas of my life including:

  • Selecting food
  • Cooking food
  • Deciding where to live
  • Determining how to live and spend my time
  • Examining the effectiveness of processes versus conventional wisdom

Philosophically I believe creativity yields CREATIVITY. Thinking creatively has fueled my passion for cooking and wine, particularly cooking food sous vide.

During the early days of Context Relevant, I applied our machine learning technology to answer the all-important question, “Where can one buy the best tasting beef in the U.S.?” So, I performed some tests and it turns out that the answer is Flannery Beef. Based on our own taste-testing data, the Context Relevant burger blend is incredible.

In fact, just about everything we do at Context Relevant is a bit out of the ordinary. For example, when we BBQ our signature burgers, we test the temperature of the burgers with a $200 NIST certified thermometer because we have more than $1000 worth of precision thermometers with computer hookups around the office.

At company functions, we decant wine in 2L Erlenmeyer flasks and mix drinks in Erlenmeyer flasks with a two Mag Mixer, which is a piece of lab equipment. But don’t get the wrong idea. In contrast to most startups, we’re not big consumers of alcohol. We’re coffee devotees. We have six different methods for making coffee in our kitchen.

Yes, we think differently. But that’s the mind of a serial inventor.

Dustin Rigg Hillard, VP of Engineering, View Profile, Fun Facts

Jeff Feinstein, Vice President of Strategic Development View Profile, Fun Facts

Leslie Wyles, VP of Finance and Admin, View Profile, Fun Facts

Dave Hardwick, Director of Human Capital, View Profile, Fun Facts

Scott Golder, Data Scientist and Staff Sociologist, View Profile, Fun Facts

M. Arthur Munson, Data Scientist, View Profile, Fun Facts

Lawrence Cayton, Data Scientist, View Profile, Fun Facts-->