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A San Francisco-based startup called DataPad launched on Tuesday, promising cheap, easy analytics and beautiful charts for small businesses and individuals. The company has raised $1.7 million in seed funding from a number of big-name investors, including Accel Partners (which led the round), Google Ventures, a16z Seed Fund, SV Angel, Ludlow Ventures, Jeff Hammerbacher, Tom Pinckney and Waikit Lau.
In its present state, DataPad has some good things going for it. Its collaboration features could be useful, and it is really easy to get started with and drill down into charts. Users can upload their own files or connect to cloud services (Salesforce, Mailchimp and Marketo, for example) or databases. However, DataPad is only in private beta, so there are some usability issues that still need to be ironed out.
The company’s founders, CEO Wes KcKinney and CTO Chang She, created the Pandas data analytics library for Python.
DataPad joins a growing number of startups — DataHero and Chart.io (which I used for this bitcoin analysis)among them — trying to deliver easy charting tools for companies and people who can’t afford traditional business analytics software, or even the roughly $1,000 a head price tag for Tableau Desktop. It’s a popular space because there’s an assumption that everyone will want the ability to analyze their data, but it’s also a tricky space in which to make money. It’s easy enough to accumulate free users, but more difficult to convert enough of them into paid users — especially at a high enough price point to turn a profit.
The good news is that the companies trying to serve this space are all pretty young, so there’s time to evolve and grow along with users’ needs. If web-hosting company GoDaddy is right, there’s a boatload of money to be made selling to the countless individuals, mom-and-pop businesses and startups, if you can find the right balance in terms of UX, price and, most importantly, value.