Big data startup attracts Fortune 100 clients, venture capital

Everybody is talking about Big Data these days, but there's a lot of confusion over how to approach it and how to implement it. Enter Think Big Analytics, a Mountain View, Calif.-based startup that aims to be a vendor-neutral systems integrator and consultant that helps guide customers through brainstorming, planning and deploying Big Data projects.

"This is really complicated stuff," says Ron Bodkin, founder and CEO of Think Big Analytics, which on Tuesday secured a $3 million seed round lead by angel investor Daniel Scheinman with participation from WI Harper Group. "The old ways of bringing new technologies on board just don't apply. There's not a lot of companies out there that know how to do what we do. We are a service provider. We help with planning, training and especially with implementation: custom implementations assembling best-of-breed solutions."

On the planning side, Bodkin says Think Big Analytics can help with brainstorming and project prioritization, analytics design and organizational readiness and proposed Big Data architecture. It also offers training services with side-by-side mentoring and classroom training as well as knowledge building to ensure staff can configure, administer and manage Big Data investments. Finally, it can help to select and assemble the correct architecture and tailor the solution to fit the architecture, data, workload and use case.

"The technologies are new," Bodkin says. "It represents a shift. It's been a long time since IT has been presented with an innovative technology for something as fundamental as storing and processing data. We see there's a need to roll back to being a partner for value creation in IT."

"There are very few companies, onshore or offshore, that know how to do what we do," he adds. "You've got to go in with eyes wide open. You need a partner who's been doing it."

Before starting Think Big Analytics, Bodkin was vice president of engineering at web analytics company Quantcast, where he led the data science team and engineering teams that helped Facebook pioneer its use of Hadoop and NoSQL. He was also co-founder and CTO of B2B applications provider C-Bridge, which he grew to a staff of 900 service consultants.

At Think Big Analytics, Bodkin leads a considerably smaller staff of about 50. But he says he expects that to grow quickly as companies ramp up their Big Data plans this year. Already, the firm counts a number of Fortune 100 companies among its client list, including Wal-Mart, Apple and HSBC. And Scheinman said that was a big contributor to his decision to invest.

"Data obesity is a growing problem amongst companies in this era of Big Data, but without the right implementation and unbiased analysis, the data collected is useless," Scheinman says. "Think Big Analytics' team, methodology and onshore presence makes it one of the few providers that are able to rapidly and effectively deploy Big Analytics as a service. Their work with leading Fortune 100 companies were immediate indicators of their talent that we couldn't ignore."

Thor Olavsrud covers IT Security, Big Data, Open Source, Microsoft Tools and Servers for CIO.com. Follow Thor on Twitter @ThorOlavsrud. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Thor at tolavsrud@cio.com

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This story, "Big data startup attracts Fortune 100 clients, venture capital" was originally published by CIO.

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