Platfora Announces $20M Series B to Scale Big Data Visualizaton Platform

In October BetaKit covered the launch of Platfora, a big data startup that aims to help companies understand and visualize their data. Today the San Mateo, CA-based company is announcing that it has raised $20 million in Series B funding, led by Battery Ventures and with participation from existing investors Sutter Hill Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz, who previously invested $5.7 million in the company in September 2011, along with In-Q-Tel. Battery Ventures already has investments in big data companies including Splunk and Continuuity.

Founder Ben Werther, who was previously the head of products at Greenplum until after its acquisition by EMC in 2010, said now that the company has launched in beta, they will use this funding to expand their sales and marketing teams in the U.S. and abroad, as well as expanding the product development team in the U.S. The company is currently hiring for several positions in its Washington, DC and California offices.

“What this money is allowing us to do is really just accelerate, hiring up through the organization so we can really handle accounts across the country and give them the kind of top tier support and engagement they need,” Werther said in an interview. “We’re really transitioning from that phase of the beta and proving out the product to really scaling up for the level of impact that we know the product can have.”

Platfora’s tool is an in-memory business intelligence tool for Hadoop, an open source framework that makes it possible to analyze large datasets without using a business intelligence solution like Oracle. The company works in conjunction with data infrastructure tools like Cloudera, MapR, Amazon Web Services, and Hortonworks, letting companies create web-based visual reports, or Vizboards, which answer questions pertaining to their data.

As Werther outlined last month, the company is targeting business users who might know Excel or simple visualization products, but aren’t data statisticians and otherwise wouldn’t be able to extract meaning from their data without the help of the IT department. He said that since the launch several weeks ago, they’ve had interest from almost 100 companies, who they will start working with when the product becomes generally available in Q1 2013. Part of the funding will go to building out a robust support team who can help clients become more well versed in the platform, and Hadoop. “It’s not just a matter of them calling our phone support line, they want to understand what we’re doing more deeply,” he said.

The company’s pool of beta testers has included companies in the advertising, financial services, telecommunications and marketing industries. Before making the product available to any company, Werther said they’re working on adding security features, for example controlling what datasets each user can access. After the public launch, Werther said they’ll start working on the next release, though he didn’t give away any specifics of what that will include.

With companies like Venngage looking to help business users make sense of large datasets without the help of an IT team, there will likely be a lot of competition among big data startups for marketing budgets. With a solid team of investors and a product that has early traction with beta testers, the company is poised to be a big player in the big data space in 2013.



Erin Bury

Erin Bury

Erin Bury is a Co-founder and CEO at Willful, an online estate planning platform. Also a former Managing Director at Eighty-Eight, a creative communications agency based in Toronto. She was formerly the Managing Editor at BetaKit. Follow her on Twitter at @erinbury.

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