RapidMiner Reels In $5M, Makes Big Push in Boston for Big Data

Just when the hype of big data is wearing off is when real businesses are getting built. Take a look at RapidMiner, a German analytics company that’s setting up U.S. headquarters in the Boston area as it looks to expand in North America.

RapidMiner (formerly known as Rapid-I) has been around since 2006 but has just raised its first venture funding, a $5 million Series A round led by two European funds, Earlybird Venture Capital and Open Ocean Capital.

With this deal, the company is bringing some big names aboard: Open Ocean partner Monty Widenius is a founder of MySQL, and data-mining expert Usama Fayyad, a Yahoo and Microsoft veteran, is also joining RapidMiner’s board of directors.

RapidMiner makes open source software that helps businesses analyze data on a large scale and make predictions for business intelligence. The company stands out in a crowded field because it has 400-plus paying customers (including PayPal, Pepsi, Sanofi, and Siemens) and has bootstrapped itself to profitability.

In a press release, Fayyad touted RapidMiner’s ease of use for business people who don’t have programming expertise. That’s a big goal for the current generation of analytics software makers; previously you had to be a techie to use such tools.

All in all, it sounds like a welcome addition to the Boston-area big data cluster. In the past year, RapidMiner has opened small offices in Burlington, MA, and San Francisco, and now it expects to get a new local office space and make new hires. The company is led by CEO and co-founder Ingo Mierswa, who will split his time between Dortmund, Germany, and the Boston area.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and Editor of Xconomy Boston. E-mail him at gthuang [at] xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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