Index Ventures Leads $20M Round for Data Analytics Startup Interana

Interana, a two-year-old data analytics company that emerged from stealth mode in October, has raised $20 million in a Series B round led by international venture firm Index Ventures.

The mission of Menlo Park, CA-based Interana might be called “bringing big data analysis to the masses.” Interana designed its data exploration tools to make it easy for non-programmers to mine the reams of data stored by their companies, and discover patterns that could lead to better-informed business decisions. For example, a cable company executive could find out at exactly what point in a TV program its subscribers tend to change channels, says Interana CEO Ann Johnson.

“A manufacturing company could ask when things tend to break down along points in an assembly line,” Johnson says. Interana’s system translates the data into graphic displays such as charts and timelines. It can tap into its customers’ full data archives, from historical information to current data flows such as clickstreams, Fitbit steps, and input from any type of sensor device, she says.

That focus on time, and the timing of events, is Interana’s signature feature. The company was founded in January 2013 by Johnson, an Intel veteran, and two former Facebook engineers, Lior Abraham and Ann Johnson’s husband, Bobby Johnson. By May 2013, Interana had raised $8.2 million from Battery Ventures, Data Collective, SV Angel, Fuel Capital, and YCombinator.

Index Ventures was joined in the $20 million Series B funding round by new investors AME Cloud Ventures, Harris Barton, and Mike Olson, chief strategy officer at Cloudera. Existing investors Battery Ventures, Data Collective, and Fuel Capital also participated.

Mike Volpi, a general partner at Index Ventures who is joining Interana’s board, says Interana allows its customers’ employees to ask any number of questions about how their products are doing in a certain time period, and why. For an online game company, for example, it’s useful to know what free users were doing just before they decided to become paying customers, he says.

“Maybe they bought extra lives when they died,” Volpi says. “Then they started buying tools so they wouldn’t die in the first place.” The game company could find out whether the decision points are different when they look only at men or women, at people in various age groups, or at players only in France, he says.

This is a longstanding kind of inquiry Volpi calls “classic cohort analysis.” But until recently, a company would need to have a specialized programmer to frame the questions, capture the answers in something like an Excel spreadsheet, and then feed that information into a data visualization format, Volpi says. This process used to take days, but at current data processing speeds, the answers can come quickly, he says.

Volpi says Index Ventures decided to invest in Interana after interviewing some of the companies that were privately trying out its data analysis tools in beta mode. These included some of Index’s portfolio companies that were asked to give it a spin. Volpi says he concluded that Interana’s system was better than those of two competitors, Mixpanel and Tableau. (Some other companies working on data exploration and visualization include Oracle, EMC, InsightSquared, ClearStory Data, Roambi, and Tamr.)

As Interana announced its fundraising round today, it named some of the paying customers it has attracted. They include workplace productivity company Asana, edtech company BloomBoard, and Orange Silicon Valley, a French telecommunications unit.

Johnson says she can’t yet release other customer names, but says they include a few large banks, an image-sharing website, and an Internet search provider.

Volpi says companies like Interana can expand the number of people in business who base their decisions on facts. Analysis will be cheaper, quicker, and easier to spread within organizations, he says.

“If you make it really easy to access the information, then a lot more people in the world will use data,” Volpi says.

Bernadette Tansey is Xconomy's San Francisco Editor. You can reach her at btansey@xconomy.com. Follow @Tansey_Xconomy

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