The 10 Coolest Big Data Startups Of 2013

Big Data, Cool Companies

Few segments of the IT industry have attracted as many entrepreneurs in recent years as the big data arena has. There's been an explosion of new companies developing technologies for collecting, managing and analyzing the terabytes and petabytes of data being generated by businesses today.

Here are 10 startups and emerging vendors in the big data space that particularly caught our attention this year.

ClearStory Data

CEO: Sharmila Mulligan

ClearStory Data launched its platform and application software for big data analysis and exploration in October. The company's Data Intelligence software is designed to make it easier to access internal and external data sources, including corporate databases, Hadoop and the Internet, and use that data to uncover trends and patterns.

The company's software, which has visual discovery capabilities, is designed to bring big data analysis to a broad range of information workers.

ClearStory Data, based in Palo Alto, Calif., received $9 million in first-round financing in December 2012 with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers leading the way.


CEO: Ion Stoica

Databricks attracted a lot of attention in September when it raised $14 million in funding from high-powered venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

We know very little about Databricks -- that's one of the things that makes it so intriguing. The company's spare website ( describes the startup as "using cutting-edge technology based on years of research to build next-generation software for analyzing and extracting value from data." The work is based on the Apache Spark open-source cluster computing system.

CEO Ion Stoica, currently a computer science professor at the University of California at Berkeley, was a co-founder of Conviva, a developer of video stream optimization technology. CTO Matei Zaharia, an assistant professor of computer science at MIT, was the creator of Apache Spark. The company was founded earlier this year, headquartered in Berkeley, Calif.


CEO: Idan Tendler

Fortscale is developing cybersecurity software that analyzes big data to detect, investigate and remediate security threats. The technology is particularly designed to discover suspicious user behavior and risky access activity that traditional rule-based security technology can't see.

The Fortscale 1.0 software is currently undergoing beta trials and commercial availability is expected around the end of this year.

Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, Fortscale was founded in 2012 by security experts in the country's high-tech sector, some of whom previously worked for the Israel Defense Forces' intelligence and cybersecurity units. Co-founders Idan Tendler and Yona Hollander are CEO and COO, respectively.


CEO: Prakash Nanduri

Paxata develops the cloud-based Adaptive Data Preparation Platform that helps business analysts collect and combine raw data and prepare it for analysis. The software, which debuted in October, uses a set of prebuilt data preparation services automated by machine learning, latent semantic indexing, statistical pattern recognition and text analytics.

The software works with business analytics tools such as Tableau, QlikView and Excel.

Based in Redwood City, Calif., Paxata was co-founded in May 2012 by CEO Prakash Nanduri. Also in October, Paxata raised $8 million in Series B funding, led by Accel Partners.


CEO: Steve Sliwa

Seeq is developing software that converts industrial process data from sensors and instrument systems into useful actionable business intelligence that companies can use to improve their business decisions.

Seattle-based Seeq raised $6 million in November in a Series A funding round led by Second Avenue Partners, with participation from Madrona Venture Group, Clear Fir Partners and individual investors.

CEO Steve Sliwa founded Seeq in May of this year. He was previously CEO of Insitu, a developer of unmanned aircraft systems that Boeing acquired in 2008.


CEO: Martin Hack

Skytree develops the Skytree Server software for machine learning and predictive analysis tasks. Skytree Co-Founder and CEO Martin Hack told CRN the company's goal is to disrupt the traditional analytics software market with its software to discover deep insights, predict trends, make recommendations, and uncover new markets and customers.

In October, the San Jose-based company integrated its software with Apache Hadoop, a move that combines predictive analytics with unified management in any Hadoop environment. Skytree has partnerships with Hadoop technology providers Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR Technologies. The company received $18 million in first-round financing in April.

Splice Machine

CEO: Monte Zweben

Splice Machine, led by founder and CEO Monte Zweben, has been developing what it calls the industry's only real-time, SQL-on-Hadoop database that's capable of handling petabytes of data. In October, the company launched a limited release program for the new software and is shooting to make the product generally available sometime this winter.

San Francisco-based Splice Machine is developing the database as an alternative to traditional relational databases, such as Oracle and IBM DB2, for real-time, transactional big data applications. Target customers are organizations that are finding it expensive to scale their commercial relational databases on specialized hardware, as well as those developing new applications that require scaled-out data platforms.


CEO: Mark Terenzoni

Sqrrl was quietly started in 2012, but it's been getting a lot of attention this year. Some of that has to do with its pedigree: Sqrrl's founders came from the super-secret National Security Agency and helped develop that organization's massive database.

The Sqrrl Enterprise database software offers column, graph and document store capabilities to power big data applications. The product's real forte is its ability to scale up and provide data security at the cell level. The 1.1 release in June moved the product from limited release to general availability, as well as added advanced security tools and enhanced analytic capabilities.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based company raised $5.2 million in first-round financing in October, with investors Atlas Ventures and Matrix Partners leading the way.


CEO: Ali Kutay

WebAction offers a real-time big data server that IT organizations can use to acquire, process and deliver structured and unstructured data. The platform, according to the company, can filter, process, enrich and correlate data while it's still in motion -- all critical for next-generation, data-driven applications.

WebAction, based in Palo Alto, Calif., was founded in 2012. The company's CEO is Ali Kutay, who was CEO of Golden Gate Software before Oracle acquired it in 2009.

In July, the company raised $11 million in second-round financing with venture capital firm Summit Partners leading the round.


CEO: Yaniv Mor

While Hadoop is quickly becoming the standard platform for working with big data, the open-source technology is notoriously difficult to work with. Xplenty offers a cloud Hadoop-as-a-Service and tools that data managers use to get the benefits of Hadoop without the hassle and complexity. That, according to Xplenty, makes the potential benefits of big data available to a wider audience of businesses.

Xplenty officially launched its software platform in April of this year. Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, the company was co-founded in 2011 by CEO Yaniv Mor and CTO Saggi Neumann.