Going from food delivery to data integration might seem like an unlikely progression for a startup team, but it was a natural fit for Hevo Data’s founders. Manish Jethani and Sourabh Agarwal previously launched SpoonJoy, an on-demand restaurant delivery app in India. The challenges they encountered while analyzing data in order to improve SpoonJoy’s service inspired them to form Hevo Data, a cloud-based data integration platform which just raised $1 million in seed funding led by IDG Ventures India.
Hevo Data chief executive officer Jethani (Agarwal is its chief technology officer) explains that SpoonJoy, whose investors included SAIF Partners, needed to analyze data from many sources. For example, if order volume started to drop in one area, the team would look at web and ad traffic, customer engagement and feedback, as well as activity by competing services. That meant they needed to draw on data from Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Zendesk or Salesforce, which had to be organized and formatted first. This is a time-consuming process and without a data integration platform, small to medium-sized companies may only be able to analyze data once or twice a week.
“One of the challenges of food delivery is that the data needs to be highly optimized,” says Jethani. “Food margins are very low, so if your delivery cost is high, you will not make money. So we built a lot of technology to optimize the logistics part of things. We fundamentally come from a very strong engineering and data background and we wanted to solve food delivery with data.”
SpoonJoy was acquired by Grofers, one of India’s largest online grocery delivery services, in 2015. Afterward, Jethani and Agarwal spent a year working at Grofers before founding Hevo Data, which has offices in Bangalore and San Francisco.
Jethani says Hevo Data’s solutions can reduce the amount of time needed to prepare data to a few minutes. One reason companies sign up for data integration services is to get data ready for machine learning algorithms, since those algorithms are only as good as their training data. Hevo Data doesn’t target specific industries, but its typical clients are small to medium-sized companies with engineering teams of less than 400 people, which means they need to make sure data scientists and engineers are spending most of their time developing algorithms and getting insights out of data instead of organizing it.
“It took us a lot of time to get data into one place before we could start analysis. It’s very inefficient if multiple people are engaged in just cleaning up and bringing in data instead of analyzing it,” says Jethani. “If we can cut the cycle from a few weeks to a few minutes, we can respond to the needs of businesses faster.”
This is especially important for companies that need to analyze data almost as soon as they get it, like on-demand food delivery services (Swiggy, India’s largest food delivery service, is one of Hevo Data’s clients). Hevo Data is cloud-neutral, so users can run it on whatever cloud platform they use, including Amazon AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure. It also offers an on-premise version of its platform for larger companies that have a private cloud.
Hevo Data, which will use its seed round to hire more engineers and expand in the United States, competes with other data integration companies like Informatica, Pentaho and Talend. Jethani says Hevo Data’s advantage is that it is cloud-native and therefore better equipped to handle real-time data.
“More and more things are happening in real-time, so our architecture is designed to deal with real-time data flowing in high speeed,” says Jethani.
In a statement, IDG Ventures India executive director Venkatesh Peddi said “Today enterprises are investing heavily in technology to strengthen and empower their data teams to gain the competitive advantage in their space. We invested in Hevo Data because we saw a strong team building a great product that fills a critical gap in the market.”