Making Event Data The Language Of Business Intelligence, Interana Emerges From Stealth

Interana, the stealthy startup founded by a who’s-who of programmers behind the new architecture of today’s brightest tech businesses, is taking the covers off its technology to turn event data into the lingua franca of business intelligence.

Founded by the dynamic husband and wife duo of Ann Johnson, a former Intel executive, and Bobby Johnson, who literally was the man behind Facebook’s adoption of Hadoop, development of Hive and the author of Scribe and Haystack; and Lior Abraham, who invented Facebook’s SCUBA interface for its staff; Interana is the enterprise company that was down from day one.

So what has that brainpower been up to, since sneaking out of the Y Combinator Winter 2013 cohort and subsequently racking up $8.2 million in capital led by Battery Ventures with participation from Data Collective Venture Capital, Silicon Valley Angels and Fuel Capital (where they were the inaugural investment from the fund)?

Not much, say the founders, except the transformation of real time events into actionable business intelligence for the non-technical set.

Using tools akin to the ones that Abraham was building for Facebook on the front end, while chief technology officer Bobby Johnson built data collection tools to collect and manage what the company calls events data (it’s really like log data), Interana has developed a way to examine clickstreams, fitbit steps, Tinder swipes, or chats, to determine how users are interacting with software and services in a corporate network.

Because of its focus on large data sets and tricky queries, the company is using an enterprise sales model, with its software living on premises at companies like Sony, Jive, Asana, Tinder and Orange Silicon Valley.

“We’ve been in beta for six months,” says chief executive Ann Johnson somewhat wearily.

The company traces its roots to a desire that Mr. and Mrs. Johnson had to start their own business. “We started talking to people about what was going on [and] it was about the time that AWS was starting to take hold. The cloud hosting businesses was really getting going and we thought maybe we should go into that.”

When the Johnsons began looking at analytics and the profusion of data, the first thought was “analytics is so f—ed up, I would never want to do this.” So, of course it’s what they did.

“With the enormous wave of big data companies that has come out, no one has fundamentally ripped apart the innards,” says Interana’s chief executive. So she and her team had to try.