We are delighted to announce today that we have led $1.2 million seed round into Big Data For Humans, a big data-as-a-service company targeting the retail and travel sectors. We are in great company, having invested alongside Firestartr, Scottish Investment Bank and a number of angel investors (joining existing investor Techstars).
Big Data For Humans helps retailers and travel companies uncover actionable and timely customer insights by automating and productising the data science function: its software ingests first party transactional data at scale (and any other data as profiling attributes) to automatically generate customer marketing profiles, spotting changes in spending patterns as they happen, then identifying tangible opportunities to further monetise and increase loyalty.
Big Data For Humans plays at the intersection of two big themes that we are particularly excited about at EC1 Capital, so our investment is a bet on these trends to continue growing strongly in the foreseeable future and on the Big Data For Humans team’s ability to capitalise on them with great execution:
1. Democratisation of big data
- Big Data has been a buzz word for a while, but it's also been evolving at rapid pace. Big Data 1.0 has historically been the sole domain of scarce $250k / year (1) data scientists, developers and analysts, working on top of complex and capital intensive on-premise infrastructure for processing big data.
- For the few companies that have the internal resources to buy such infrastructure and build applications on top of it in house, this resulted in typical deployment cycles of up to 9 months. Way too slow for the pace at which enterprises are amassing volumes of data these days.
- Big Data 2.0 instead is increasingly something that everyone within the organization, who is used to data-driven consumer products at home, can (or expect to) access and action. Just like CRM and ERP systems have done, big data is finally making a move to the cloud / SaaS. Software as always is a far more scalable and efficient solution than data scientists and on-prem infrastructure, and comes with the benefits of lower cost, more agility and flatter corporate culture (everyone within the organisation is finally looking at and acting upon the same data), allowing data scientists to go on solving higher value-add problems.
- Over the next few years we expect to see the emergence of new data driven software companies such as Big Data For Humans that directly address business users, allowing them to automatically derive insights from big data.
"It is very likely that 2015 will be a critical year in which democratizing access to analytics will continue to dominate market requirements and stress the need for governance. Next-generation data discovery capabilities that leverage advanced analytics, but hide its complexity to simplify business user data preparation and automate pattern exploration, are likely to be more important enablers.”
2. Maturing ecommerce-enablement ecosystem.
- This is not the first time we have played this theme, so it’s a nice fit within the EC1 Capital’s portfolio. Alongside our investments into User Replay, Loyalty Lion and Hypaship, Big Data For Humans is part of an ecosystem of companies that help ecommerce businesses optimise certain mission critical areas such as conversion rate, loyalty/retention and deliveries.
- This time is about helping online retailers making sense of the deluge of data that they generate, and crucially using cloud software to scale that function and democratise it across the organisation.
- As the cost of acquiring users for online retailers is continuing to soar, we believe that there will be an acceleration in budgets shifting from acquisition marketing and top-line growth to margin optimisation and user retention; companies like User Replay, Loyalty Lion, Hypaship and now Big Data For Humans are addressing this shift with purpose built cloud-based software.
- We very much believe that the next wave of ecommerce penetration (i.e. from c. 10% of retail to c. 20-30%) will be enabled by the maturation of the ecommerce ecosystem.
Most importantly, we are delighted to back Peter Ellen and Steven Rose, the two experienced co-founders behind Big Data For Humans, in their new venture. We like backing founders who have a history of working together and deep sector knowledge: Peter was most recently co-founder at Maxymiser, the marketing automation software company recently acquired by Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), where he hired Steven as a solutions architect. At Maxymiser, Peter and Steven have developed an obsession for customer centricity, which has inspired them to start Big Data For Humans.
We look forward to working with Peter and the team along this new journey.