In 2012 a team of two top data scientists from Google and Facebook left their perches at the internet giants to begin working on a technology to make it easier for data scientists and analysts to collect, aggregate, deliver and analyze the massive sets of data that map, display, and define our digital lives. Two years later the team has unveiled the fruits of their labor with the launch of Metanautix from stealth.
The company financed those two years of development with a $7 million Series A investment from Sequoia Capital, the Stanford Endowment, and Shiva Shivakumar, a former VP of engineering at Google, with the bulk of the round coming in 2012 when it was first getting off the ground.
Co-founded by Theo Vassilakis, who served as the lead engineer for Google’s Dremel project, and Apostolos Lerios, who worked with the billions of images stored on Facebook, Metanautix is aiming to make data available to anyone “without making hard choices about where the data is going to reside,” according to Vassilakis.
Metanautix‘s organizing principle is that a basic knowledge of SQL is all anyone should need to get data from any repository. “Our goal is to say, ‘Let’s focus on the enterprise problem and ask what do you need to do?'” says Vassilakis. “Let’s connect all the silos of information you need to pull together to get something done and let’s do that in a super high-level way so you’re not writing a lot of detailed code.”
The genesis of the project started with Vassilakis’ experience at Google, where developers were constantly inventing new programming languages, but had trouble getting them adopted because training took time and because upgrading legacy systems to handle the new tools was expensive, he says.
“This is about helping old dogs not have to learn new tricks,” says Vasillakis. Clearly, Sequoia and its co-investors saw the value in the technology, because they gave the team $7 million before a product had been built to build out the staff that the company would need to grow.
“Metanautix tackles some real problems that I see in companies all the time… which is the data supply chain and data management writ large,” says Bill Coughran, a Sequoia Capital partner and former SVP of engineering at Google. Metanautix’s software solves the problem by obviating it. Using the software, companies can take data from anywhere including photo repositories, video, audio, and text.
The company is releasing its first product for general availability before the end of the year. There are currently half a dozen beta customers using the software, with the largest being HP.