With the new funding, BlueTalon is also appointing Eric Tilenius, a former executive-in-residence at Scale Venture Partners, as its new CEO. Before joining Scale, Tilenius was CEO of two venture-backed startups: Netcentives (which he co-founded) and Answers.com, both of which had successful IPOs.
The startup was founded in July 2013 by Pratik Verma, a PhD from Stanford University and a veteran data scientist who also founded database security company AgeTak in 2005.
BlueTalon joins a growing breed of big data and data analytics startups that are attempting to help enterprise customers make sense of information residing in databases outside and inside their companies.
“There’s been a lot of innovation around storing, retrieving and providing big data, but all of them are focused within enterprise within walls. What’s missing is the ability to combine data that’s inside the enterprise and outside residing at competitors, and anywhere else,” said Verma.
BlueTalon achieves this by offering a virtual database through SaaS model. The startup’s virtual database is a catalog of data from all contributing databases, but contains no data itself. This helps it maintain virtual connections with all back-end databases without slowing down the process.
“BlueTalon does for database data what Box or Dropbox do for documents,” said Tilenius.
Unlike in a traditional data ETL (extract, transform, load) process that could take months and cost millions of dollars for a large enterprise, these virtual databases can be up and running in weeks and at a fraction of cost, the startup says.
“What we are seeing as competition are big proprietary data warehousing projects, but they don’t give data collaborators the ability to control their own data. They do data ETL projects and BlueTalon eliminates the need to deal with ETL,” Tilenius added.
BlueTalon has already signed up paying customers including United Healthcare and Eli Lilly who were looking to get a unified view of data residing across different locations on-the-fly.
“The kinds of technologies they [United] were putting together, it would have taken much longer, maybe months. We delivered in a fraction of time and without any security holes. Can you imagine United Healthcare working with a startup?” added Verma.
From what we have seen over the past few months, big data and data analytics are going to be among the top investment and startup themes going forward. Most of the big data startups are promising (and some are already delivering) to help enterprises make sense of terabytes of data on-the-fly.
One one hand, the in-memory database startups such as MemSQL are challenging NoSQL solutions on speed and accuracy. And on the other side, startups such as BlueTalon are now catching the attention of some of the world’s biggest enterprise customers. But of course, these startups also face the usual challenges of scaling their solutions to work beyond the initial set of receptive customers.