Flourish, a new startup out of London, has launched what it describes as a data visualisation platform, designed to make it easier for companies, including media organisations, to visualise and tell stories through data. The company is also disclosing $1 million in backing from Robin and Saul Klein’s LocalGlobe, and U.S.-based Founder Collective.
Founded by ex-data journalist Duncan Clark and computer scientist Robin Houston, the Flourish platform began development last March after the startup entered the Founders Factory accelerator, whose media programme is a partnership with Guardian News & Media. Eight months later, the pair had built a data visualisation tool used by customers such as Google, Fannie Mae, the BBC and JLL, to help them present data and tell data-driven stories for both internal and external audiences.
“Almost all organisations struggle with visualising and presenting data. The tools available are limited and often hard to use, while creating things bespoke is difficult, time consuming and expensive,” says Clark.
“Flourish solves this problem by enabling anyone to combine their data with an ever-growing library of visualisation templates. Organisations can make or commission bespoke templates giving them unlimited flexibility and allowing them to tap the huge talent of the world’s data visualisation developer community”.
That reference to “templates” is key to Flourish’s proposition. The platform enables you to quickly create high-quality visualisations, stories, presentations and other interactive content by putting your own data and text into configurable templates. The idea is to remove much of the heavy-lifting (and expense) of data-driven story telling.
This is also where the startup hopes to leverage a community of Flourish developers via the Flourish SDK that allows developers to make templates and upload them to Flourish to be used by others.
As an example, I’m told that the Bank of England is using Flourish survey data templates to enable staff to quickly spin out agency-quality visuals each time they have new data. This includes use by members of the Advanced Analytics team, who are tasked with exploring and understanding their data, and the comms team, who need to communicate the findings internally and externally. “They will also use the core charting templates to replace their crazy mix [of] current tools,” says Clark.
In terms of business model, Flourish is free for publicly visible projects and templates, but charges for premium features such as private templates, private projects, user management and support. The company also has a consultancy service offering bespoke templates, something that other developers and agencies using Flourish could also offer to clients.
Saul Klein, General Partner at LocalGlobe, says in a statement: “The need to understand data and communicate it effectively is getting greater by the day. Duncan and Robin have unique experience helping companies like Fannie Mae, Google and The Guardian solve these problems in a way that is not just beautiful and interactive but most importantly allows them to tell a story. We think the power and simplicity of Flourish has huge potential and we’re thrilled to lead their seed round alongside our good friends at Founder Collective.”