Platfora gets $20M for a business intelligence platform

Battery Ventures leads round, with Andreessen Horowitz, Sutter Hill Ventures participating

Financial trends and news by Bambi Francisco Roizen
November 13, 2012
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2bb2

As more information gets digitized, the more information can be analyzed and spliced and diced to derive knowledge. But in this day and age, months can be too long a wait to get answers. To this end, the typical databases to hold the data and the typical software to extract that data out to make sense of it, is becoming outdated.

Hoping to be the company that helps companies make business intelligence out of today's big data is Platfora. And, it's getting new funding to prove itself out.

The San Mateo, Calif-based company announced Tuesday that it's raised $20 million in a Series B round of financing led by Battery Ventures, with participating from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Sutter Hill Ventures. Roger Lee, a general partner at Battery Ventures, will join the company's board. 

So what does Platfora offer? Platfora claims to offer a much more affordable and faster way businesses can turn raw data into meaningful information, or in other words - business intelligence. Today, companies use software, provided by, say Informatica, to load the data into databases, like Oracle, and then use business intelligent products, such as SAP's Business Objects or MicroStrategy to help chart or visualize the data, said Ben Werther, CEO and founder of Platfora, in an interview.

Platfora works with large companies that have their data stored in Hadoop, an open-source software framework for holding large amounts of data. Platfora can then take the information in Hadoop and convert the raw data into meaninful knowledge that the non-technical end user can understand and make decisions from. The advantage of Platfora is that its platform lets businesses see that data in a much shorter timeframe then the 18 months it would have typically had to wait using more traditional business intelligent software, said Werther. The wait time has been reduced to hours, Werther added.

To put this is simple terms, imagine a big media company that has a lot of data about its users. The media company initially segments information, such as demographics (gender, age), and some psychographic information (interests). But then they realize, they want to get more information about the data, like what kind of movies are being selected. That information resides in the data, but it's raw. And, because the media company had not initially segmented the data to make that particular attribute more accessible, it's hard to extract that data and interact with it to make sense of it.

By using Platfora, that data theoretically should be more easily accessible and affordable to access than current means.  

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Description: Platfora transforms Apache Hadoop™ from batch engine into a subsecond-interactive, exploratory business intelligence and analytics ...