If data is at the heart of any modern business, it needs to be easier to access and manipulate it without expertise. While there are many data analysis tools available, including the sophisticated data science variety, and more line of business-focused BI tools, it hasn’t been easy for a person with little experience to work with data without going to one of these experts for help.
The founders of Zing Data recognized this fundamental problem with data access, and they went to work building a mobile application that would let users get into the data themselves.
Today, the company announced a $2.4 million seed investment to help keep building on that elemental idea.
Co-founder and CEO Zack Hendlin says they used Figma, a collaborative design program, as an inspiration when they created Zing Data. He says that collaboration is baked in because data analysis typically isn’t a solo effort. It involves many people who need to understand something about how you run your business. Further, the founders wanted to make it mobile, so people could work with data wherever they are. Another key premise was that it needed to be accessible to everyone.
“We said ‘well, what if we could just make that available to everybody directly without them needing to know SQL, without them having to pay a lot for a license and without them even needing to know where to start’…So that was sort of the genesis, make data simple, accessible and collaborative,” Hendlin explained.
He says that you want the data analysis experts in your company working on hard problems, but too often they are working on basic questions from business users. Zing Data is designed to let those users answer the basic questions themselves. The way the product works is you connect it to a variety of popular data sources including Snowflake, Trino, Google BigQuery and Google Sheets, as well as databases like Postgres and MySQL. Once connected, you can choose a specific dataset, choose some fields to display, then manipulate the data as you wish, changing different aspects to see different views, while sharing the chart with others.
It’s available for both iOS and Android users and there is a web app as well. You can then share a chart and get notifications in Slack or by email, as well as in the app when you get comments from your fellow employees. The product is free to use for up to 10 employees, but after that they start charging.
Hendlin launched the company last year with longtime friend and co-founder Sabin Thomas, who heads up engineering. For a time they kept their day jobs, building the app on nights and weekends, but by last June, when they had a working product, they decided to go all in.
Thomas says he believes a product like Zing will thrive even if there is an economic downturn because it’s solving a big problem around data access. “The solution that we’re developing right now is actually geared for an environment like this. We feel there will be more adoption for tools like us. Companies that are penny pinching are going to rethink their BI vendor licenses, and we think a solution like ours really fits into that mold,” Thomas said.
It’s still early and the company has just three employees, but is actively looking to fill four roles right now. The founders believe that hiring a diverse workforce isn’t only the right thing to do, it’s also smart business strategy from a product perspective.
“The multitude of experiences you get, both within the U.S. or outside of the U.S., I think all of that helps you build a better product, a mobile experience, chief among that as well. You know, the adoption globally has different acceleration rates and we feel that will empower how we build our product as well, if we can find the right kind of diverse set of employees,” Thomas said.
Today’s $2.4 million seed was led by Kindred Ventures with participation from Correlation Ventures and various industry angels.