Companies wanting to use data to understand their markets, customers, and business now have a number of agile business intelligence tools available to them. But while there is no shortage of tools to enable visualization and exploration of data, gathering and preparing the data for analysis has been a bottleneck for businesses. Here is where Paxata, an adaptive data preparation platform, makes a difference. It helps transform raw data into ready data so that businesses can take full advantage of their agile business intelligence tools.
Paxata is a cloud-based, self-service solution, powered by semantic algorithms, distributed computing and an interactive visual experience. It dramatically reduces the most painful and manual steps of any analytic exercise, empowering analysts at companies like Dannon, Box, UBS, as well as leading financial services and high tech companies, to drive greater value for their business.
“For organizations who spend weeks and months doing things in Excel that could otherwise be automated by the Paxata solution, this provides immediate efficiencies and value.Paxata is purpose-built for the iterative data preparation process that makes data ready for analytics,” says Prakash Nanduri, Co-Founder and CEO of Paxata, which is headquartered in Redwood City, California and funded by Accel India and other investors.
The birth of the idea
Prakash is a seasoned entrepreneur and enterprise software visionary with over 20 years’ experience in both startups and large companies. He was the Co-Founder and VP of Velosel Corporation (acquired by TIBCO in 2005), a pioneer in the Master Data Management (MDM) space. He led the post-merger integration at TIBCO, then spent three years at SAP in the Office of the CEO as the Head of Product and Technology Strategy.
In January 2012, he met Dave Brewster, who had just left GuideWire, where he was Chief Architect and Head of Platform Development. Dave was earlier a lead platform development engineer at NetDynamics (acquired by Sun, 1998), a pioneer in the Java Enterprise Edition (JEE) application server market. He was also Chief Architect at Cascade Works (acquired by Elance), a leading services procurement application provider.
When he met Prakash in Redwood City, Dave was researching machine learning. They both had the data management space in mind, and decided to startup.
“We founded Paxata with the goal of being the first self-service data preparation platform built for the business analyst. We agreed that we didn’t just want to create a solution and go find people to buy it. Instead, we wanted market validation to be the foundation of what we would build,” Prakash says.
Nenshad Bardoliwalla, who was with SAP and earlier with Tidemark, came in to lead their product strategy. By May 2012, they had a fully-functional prototype and began the process of building the business model that would support the launch of the solution. They brought in Chris Maddox, a proven enterprise sales leader, who was able to garner hundreds of meetings with potential buyers within a few months. “With Nenshad and Dave focused on recruiting the greatest team of user experience, back-end system and application developers, Chris and I continued to meet with prospects to gather deep requirements and garner sales opportunities,” Prakash recalls.
From the beginning, Prakash insisted that the company would be launched by customers and partners. They did just that — worked hard to get a product, customer base, and partner ecosystem in place before they launched. “There were a few times when noisy vendors would tempt the team to unveil Paxata sooner than planned. Maintaining focus was key and ultimately, our patience and perseverance paid off,” Prakash says. When they came out of stealth mode on October 28, 2013, at Hadoop World + Strata Conference in New York, they had the advantage of pent up interest and a powerful foundation for their launch. Paxata believes that business analysts, particularly those who have invested in agile business intelligence tools, are eager for a similar agile approach to the data preparation step.
“Unlike other vendors that have taken an all-in-one approach, Paxata believes in being part of an ecosystem of next generation companies such as Tableau, QlikView, and Cloudera. This gives our customers more flexibility and allows us to focus on what we do best and leave the rest to our partners,” says Prakash.