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5 low-profile startups that could change the face of big data

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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 (s emc) 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 (s ibm), Google (s goog), @WalmartLabs (s wmt) and Hortonworks.

Feature image courtesy of Flickr user jurvetson.

37 Responses to “5 low-profile startups that could change the face of big data”

  1. johnwcowan

    I understand “stealth mode startup” to mean one in which nobody outside the company knows what they are doing unless bound by an NDA. Wikipedia agrees. How can these startups be “stealth mode” when you are proclaiming their purposes?

  2. Jake Moon

    Hey Derrick, I know you have written about Zettaset in the past, but they definitely should be on a list like this. They came out of stealth mode in the past year, and in the fall they announced a partnership with Fusion-io and Hyve Solutions to create what could be one of the world’s fastest Hadoop solutions. Definitely worth another look.

  3. Chris Zaharias

    I run SearchQuant, the blog whose write-up of Bloomreach and enterprise SEO platforms you linked for this article. Since that Nov 15 2011 measurement, Bloomreach is up from 160 customers (as measured by BuiltWith Trends) to 228. Impressive [42.5%] growth in such a short period of time, but one of their primary competitors – BrightEdge has gone from 148 to 312. Decidedly, Bloomreach isn’t the only one blooming in the enterprise SEO space.

  4. netlistpost

    This ones under the radar also – HyperCloud memory trumps LRDIMMs memory for Romley rollout.

    How it relates to cloud computing – you need lots of RAM per server (as you increase cores) but memory slows down as you increase load. LRDIMM is the solution touted by Intel, but it has high latency issues (plus it requires a BIOS upgrade and non-interoperable with RDIMMs) – at 3 DIMMs per memory channel (3 DPC) it cannot even run at 1333MHz. Meanwhile Netlist’s HyperCloud requires no BIOS update, and is interoperable and can do 768GB at 1333MHz on a 2-socket server (i.e. can do 1333MHz at 3 DPC).

    Which means the LRDIMM space (20% of Romley server) could wind up being owned by HyperCloud.

  5. Jeremy Levine

    I’m admittedly not unbiased, but Convertro definitely belongs on this list. They’re not in stealth, but they keep a very low profile despite many high profile customers.

  6. 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.

  7. Steve Ardire

    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 !