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Summary:

The great thing about big data is that there’s still plenty of room for new blood, especially for companies that want to leave infrastructure in the rearview mirror. At this point, the data-infrastructure space, including Hadoop, is well-funded and nearly saturated, but it also needs help.

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Big data is hot, but infrastructure-level platforms such as Hadoop, which focus on storage and processing, still need help to take them into the mainstream. They need a killer app or two that will let companies analyze, visualize and act on all that data without hiring a team of Stanford Ph.Ds, or that will let developers write big-data apps without having to reinvent the wheel.

Here are five startups (in alphabetical order) either in stealth mode or just out of it that could help take Hadoop and its ilk to the promised land.

1. BloomReach

The stealth-mode BloomReach is taking a very targeted, very hands-free approach to big data for its customers. It’s offering a SaaS-based product that job listings say is for “helping leading online businesses uncover the highest quality, most relevant content sought by their consumers, when and where they want it.” Founded by a team with roots at Google, Cisco, Facebook and Yahoo, among other companies, BloomReach has, according to one estimate, about 160 customers — all of them among the top 10,000 websites, and most of them in the retail space. Among its core technologies and methods are Hadoop, Lucene, Monte Carlo simulations and large-scale image processing.

2. Continuuity

Continuuity, the just-launched stealth-mode startup by former Yahoo VP and chief cloud architect Todd Papaioannou, wants to make it easier to build applications that can leverage both cloud computing and big data technologies. As Papaioannou told me recently, most developers shouldn’t have to go through what Yahoo, Facebook and others did in order to write large-scale, data-driven applications. He also said “the data fabric is the next middleware” and noted that the company name is a play on “continuum.” You figure out what it’s up to.

3. Odiago

Odiago is the brainchild of Hadoop and analytics experts Christophe Bisciglia and Aaron Kimball, and aims to improve the state of web analytics. Its first product, Wibidata, which is in private beta, lets websites better analyze their user data to build more-targeted features. It’s built atop Hadoop and HBase, but also plugs into companies’ existing data-management and BI tools. Current customers include Wikipedia, RichRelevance, FoneDoktor and Atlassian (with whom it shares office space).

4. Platfora

Platfora, which launched in September with $5.7 million in funding, wants to make big data analytics accessible to the masses. Founder and CEO Ben Werther, formerly of Greenplum and NoSQL startup DataStax, told me when Platfora launched that its intuitive, visually stunning interface will make Hadoop-based analytics so easy even a history major could use it. Platfora’s product isn’t available yet, but the company is currently hiring, with an emphasis on frontend and user-experience skills.

5. SkyTree

Skytree is probably the stealthiest of the group, but it’s also is one of the more ambitious — because it’s trying to bring high-performance machine learning to mainstream companies. Machine learning is an impressive technique in which the system itself gets smarter as it digests more data, but it usually doesn’t find its way out of research environments or cutting-edge analytics teams. Skytree is putting together an impressive team, including co-founder Alexander Gray, who also teaches machine learning at Georgia Tech and spent six years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The company will officially launch later this quarter.

We’ll be addressing many of the issues these companies are trying to resolve at our Structure: Data event that takes place March 21-22 in New York City. Founders from Continuuity, Odiago and Skytree will be speaking at the event, as will dozens of other data visionaries from companies such as IBM, Google, @WalmartLabs and Hortonworks.

Feature image courtesy of Flickr user jurvetson.

  1. Good Derrick but I can list 3 or 4 more low-profile startups that could change the face of big data right off top of my head and there’s probably another 25 since this space is sizzling red hot !

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    1. Steve, what are your 3 fav of that list?

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    2. Steve what are you two or three fav from that group?

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    3. Steve, what are your three fav from that group?

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      1. I’d be interested to hear, too. My list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, just five stealthy companies that I’ve spoken with or come across lately that have really impressed me. You’re right, though, it’s a white-hot space.

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      2. Gotta give BloomReach credit with 160 customers but there’s many good players that know how to serve up relevant content so ergo their niche in retail space. Odiago looks most impressive with Wibidata and SkyTree most ambitious if they can bring high-performance machine learning to the mainstream. I see Platfora as more a optimized cloud computing play. Too early to tell with Continuuity and “data fabric is the next middleware” is way too me too and included the info mgmt 800 lb gorillas Google, IBM, Oracle, SAP, MSFT so LOL ;)

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      3. Hey why all are asking favorite of Steve only ask me too…

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    4. If you can, then do. Don’t talk about it, be about it.

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  2. Reblogged this on quickgamer88.

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  3. I keep wondering about the future…

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  4. Reblogged this on indhulsheena.

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  5. You should check out Aspera. Big digital asset file transfer protocol build from ground up.

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    1. Derrick Harris Sunday, January 29, 2012

      I know Aspera well, actually, have written about its relevancy to big data. But it’s not exactly in stealth mode ;-)

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  6. WoW! Very good info Derrick, Platfora has my attention now thanks to you.

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  7. there would be more trust me, that may not even have started yet. There is a clear test, whether they would succeed in long run-1) They are solving a hot problem, which definitely same as Hot idea looking for a problem 2) it has to be the simplest way of doing it, and once it is not simplest would be obsoleted.
    it does not mean hell of a bean difference, whether it is IT or a nail cutter, or a blue jacket. both need technology to make. And as One of my professors said in late 70′s-today computers(Hardware and software) are far ahead of applications. Whatever you want done can be done today”. This statement is also true today. IMHO, the biggest gain would be in combine IT, other technology. E.G medical instrumentation and delivery devices. Problem Medical costs are very high and cannot be s of afforded. So combine modern method of rapid prototyping and manufacturing, software and problem and you got a recipe for success. IT is akin to electricity now.

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  8. today its five but there is another 3-4 preparred to start..

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  9. Dr. Ambrish Joshi Sunday, January 29, 2012

    Wonder why only 5; have to be more…

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