Today San Francisco-based Looker announced the launch of its latest query-based business intelligence platform, in addition to $2 million in funding from First Round Capital and PivotNorth Capital. Founded by Lloyd Tabb, a tech industry veteran with experience at Netscape, Mozilla, and LiveOps, the company is out to disrupt an industry known primarily for giving users a big picture dashboard and turning it into a query-driven one, where users at all levels of the organization can drill down into data and back their suggestions with real-time facts.
“A lot of the companies I’ve worked at were very successful because we were able to see the data and able to make good decisions based on this data,” said Tabb in an interview with BetaKit. “In meetings people would come armed with facts as opposed to opinions and make better decisions and I wanted to build a platform like that on which others companies could run.”
Prior to today’s launch, the stealth startup spent most of 2012 working actively on signing on and working with the more than 20 enterprise clients using the platform in beta, including Simply Hired. According to Tabb, the startup can have enterprises up and running with its solution in as little as a week, from signup to connecting their database with Looker.
It then uses a new modelling language, LookML, which takes programming language SQL up a notch for analytics and gives end users the ability to access the data they are after without needing to know how a query is written. Employees are able to access the data at any time, with all the insights residing in a single repository which in turn enables cross functional data to be accessible throughout the organization. The SaaS startup provides its platform starting at $750 a month, scaling based on the needs of its customers.
With several startups tackling the need for enterprises to make sense of their data, be it Canopy Labs for consumer insights, Retention Science for consumer retention, or Ayasdi for its data insights, Looker wants to be a customizable all-in-one solution. “There’s a lot of analytics solutions for things like site metrics, or retargeting or selling to more people on their site. We support all those things, we’re a much more general purpose tool,” Tabb added. “The Big Data tools are all doing predictive analysis, we can do that too…but you still need to be able to look at as many variables in the past to be able to do forward prediction. We’re the tool where you can build all kinds of facts about your entities.”
In terms of what’s on the agenda for the rest of 2013, the company try to make running queries on Looker as straightforward and seamless as possible, with additional integrations and visualization tools to follow. With its mission to make employees at all levels more informed without necessarily having a team of engineers supplying the insights, the startup is playing in a space occupied by several other big data startups and legacy solutions. With funding secured and Tabb’s track record behind the startup, it comes out of stealth into a crowded space, however, in trying to be a general purpose tool it might appeal to companies that aren’t looking for a niche solution.