Analytics startup DataHero, which focuses on relatively small data for developers and individuals, has raised $3.15 million in venture capital and redesigned its service to create an even simpler user experience. Foundry Group led the new round, which brings the company’s total funding to $4.15 million since it launched in May 2012.
DataHero raised the money, which it’s calling an extended seed round, because it’s ready to make a big hiring push on its sales and engineering teams, Co-founder and CEO Chris Neumann said in a recent interview. Having focused much of its energy thus far on getting its free version to where it needs to be, he said it’s now time for the company to start building out and really selling the paid version it launched over the summer.
Thus far, the main difference between the two products has been that the paid version will automatically update certain web datasets that users are importing via API. Still, DataHero has been able to convert a small percentage of its free users into paid users and is actually piling up dozens of individual accounts within some companies. The plan is to beef up the paid version, grow the company a bit more and then go raise a formal series A round, Neumann said.
As for the redesign of the core free version of DataHero, they’re mostly around aesthetics and user experience. The product has more of the flat design that has become so popular, and there’s a better onramp for new users to learn how to use the product (not that it was ever too difficult to figure out) and some sample datasets from data marketplace Quandl. The actual act of creating charts by dragging and dropping fields onto the canvass is minimally different (although you can zoom in on certain ranges easier with sliders along the axes now), mostly a result of analyzing data about how users were interacting with the product.
“You’ll see us just redesign and redesign, not for the sake of redesign, but based on user feedback and how can we make this easier and easier,” Neumann said.
If there really is a market for data-analysis tools targeting everyday employees and individuals (and I think there is), this type of behavioral analysis might be key to capturing it. The space shouldn’t be viewed as business intelligence software or any other enterprise big software, but as one targeting, essentially, consumers. The companies that shine in that space — the Googles, Facebooks Airbnbs and LinkedIns — are constantly collecting and analyzing how users interact with their sites and redesigning (even if not always successfully) based on what they see.
This is actually one of the themes of our Structure Data conference in March — using data as a means to create better products, regardless whether the product has anything to do with data. So although DataHero and companies like it might never deliver big data or statistical analysis products to their users, but they probably should rely on those disciplines to make what they do deliver better.