Numetric Is Turning Business Intelligence On Its Head And Making Everyone Analysts.
They’ve raised $3.75 million and appointed Greg Butterfield as Chairman of the Board, here’s what it all means.
We are deep enough into the current technology cycle to realize that finding data is not a problem. In the olden days, way, way back at the turn of the century, finding data was not as easy. This was a simpler time, when Google search blew our collective minds and Ask Jeeves was an acceptable name for a non-creepy, information-seeking search engine. As time has worn on, data has become more and more accessible to everyone — individuals, businesses, governments — and the problem has shifted from trying to find data, to knowing what to do with it.
Now, gobs of data exists pretty much everywhere, like under that rock, or in the folds of my sweater, or crackling through the electronic pathways of my computer. With so much information at our disposal, how do we make sense of any of it? How many business owners have unlocked endless streams of data, then spent sleepless days and nights trying to hammer out some sort of futile strategy? Shouldn’t data be the ultimate enabler — allowing anyone to make quick, informed decisions — rather than the roadblock it sometimes becomes? Isn’t true business intelligence built upon the assumption that data mining should be fast, easy, insightful, and available to any employee, not just data analysts?
Numetric was created to slip silently and skillfully into this void. Spun out of Attack Pattern — a Seattle-based software development agency and internal startup incubator — nearly two years ago, Numetric’s mission is simple: it’s “the fast and easy way to connect, analyze, and share data.”
In the beginning, things were slightly different. Initially started as a platform focusing on the Department of Transportation (DOT) and their struggle to find data and answer simple questions, Numetric quickly evolved.
“That’s where we started, focusing on data exploration,” said Robert Sweeney, former CEO of Attack Pattern and now current CEO of Numetric. “We designed Numetric to be usable by regular DOT employees, not analysts. That differentiator in the user experience turned out to be applicable not just to DOT, but to every business. So after a few months, we switched our focus away from just DOT.”
Numetric has now spread into roughly 15 different markets, ranging from ecommerce to education. They are touting their product as third generation business intelligence (BI), which sounds cool and is even cooler if you’re a normal person wanting to understand data.
“Our customers have started calling us third generation BI, which we think is a very good description of what we’re doing,” said Sweeney. “First generation BI would be a desktop application like Tableau, where you query against a data warehouse on your desktop and publish reports that way. Second generation BI would be a product like Burst, where it’s cloud-based but you’re still using some variance of Sequel for the data storage. You’re really not getting the full benefit of the cloud because with a Sequel-based analytics tool, you’re limited on scalability.”
Do you know who’s not limited on scalability? That would be Numetric, which avoids any Sequel technology — you know, the technology that limits scalability — and opts instead for a more modern/scalable cloud-based technology. Why is this important? Three words: more data, faster.
“What that allows us to do is query massive amounts of data in 100 milliseconds,” said Sweeney. “Queries that used to take hours or days to run can be done instantly. It’s a total game changer. With that kind of speed and performance, being able to distribute a data set across thousands of servers, you can get incredible performance and with that performance, we are able to design a completely different user experience for data exploration. Every query that a user could imagine running will be fast and instantaneous.”
To recap, third generation business intelligence means anyone (not just analysts) can do whatever they freaking want with data, and freaking fast. I’m not a business man, but that seems like a good deal. Actually, it’s almost too good of a deal, because some customers have freaked out during the initial demo.
“We’ll sit down with customers and go through a demo, and every time, without fail, they’ll ask us if it’s fake or pre-canned or somehow not querying a live data set of a hundred million rows,” said Sweeney. “It’s kind of mind-blowing for customers when they first see it, but once they accept that it’s real they start to see how it could really change how their business operates.”
As a general rule of thumb, when you present a demo before an organization and they think it’s fake because things work too well, that’s a good sign. Do you know who is also fired up by the possibilities? Investors.
That’s how Numetric was able to raise $3.75 million in funding, including a $1.5 million chunk from SLC-based Epic Ventures. The names of other investors were not disclosed.
“We felt like Epic was the perfect match for Numetric,” said Sweeney. “They have other investments in the analytics space, they have a track record of success, they have a great reputation as brilliant advisors and business leaders. Nick (Efstratis) and Ryan (Hemingway), the partners there we have been working with, have been phenomenal.”
Announced alongside the funding was a different sort of addition to Numetric. Greg Butterfield — known for a variety of prominent roles in Utah’s tech scene, most recently CEO of Vivint Solar — has agreed to an appointment as Chairman of the Board, where he will bring a healthy dose of experience/expertise to the table.
“Greg is a brilliant guy and he’s been involved with a lot of not just technology companies, but analytics companies,” said Sweeney. “We knew he had a lot to bring to the table and so we were thrilled when he agreed to come aboard and take on the role of Chairman of the Board of Numetric.”
Numetric released version one of their software six months ago and in that time span, things have gone well. Really well, actually, which helped spur the funding round and define their focus in 2017: growth.
“We knew we had product/market fit, the feedback we were getting from customers is that this is the perfect tool, it’s what they have been looking for,” said Sweeney. “A lot of them have an existing solution, but they’re not completely satisfied with it because they don’t have the self-serve capability. The market is ready, the product is ready, so it is time to accelerate our growth.”
Third generation business intelligence has finally arrived. Numetric is primed to grow around a data exploration platform that encourages behaviors like fast and easy. As our access to data continues to increase, the need for analysts also increases. So why not include everyone? One of Numetric’s customers — Jeff Jacobson, COO of Costa Vida — sums it all up.
“We could hire an analyst or we could buy Numetric and all be analysts.”