Follow Datanami:
November 5, 2013

Seeq Finds $6M to Develop Industrial Big Data Tools

Isaac Lopez

Industrial analytics company Seeq announced it  secured a Series A round of funding totaling $6 million to develop big data analytics for industrial process data.

A Seattle-based startup, Seeq was launched this past May by Steve Silwa, former CEO of drone production company Insitu (acquired by Boeing in 2008). In an email to Datanami, he explained that Seeq is developing tools that sit on top of data collectors like enterprise historians, and deliver actionable insights to business decision makers.

Still very much in its early development phase, the company is silent on which technologies the company is using to develop and deliver its solutions, and currently does not have a shipping product.

“We are following lean start-up principles where we get prospective customers involved with us early and often as we build products,” he wrote in an email exchange. “Our website is aimed at signing up launch customers that will work with us during this process. We have several household names who are assessing formal involvement as launch customers but we have no official announcements at this time.” Silwa says the company expects to have a shipping product by the end of 2014.

The funding announcement is another in an emerging trend in the big data space where companies without an established product or customer base has landed sizeable funding rounds. For its part, the folks at Seeq believe they’ve got the tools and the team to make it all work, and are employing what they call a “scrum process” to develop customized solutions for customers participating in their launch.

Per the Seeq website:

“Seeq uses agile development methodology and drives all development with the scrum process. Scrum utilizes a series of 2-4 week sprints with each sprint ending with a demonstrable progress towards a product. The scrum approach provides frequent review of progress allowing for quick course corrections—issues are identified early and corrected as required… Launch Customers are also asked to participate in our development. The focus is on details of the use cases that map to the launch customer’s business scenarios. This involves production of use case write-ups and supplying of actual data and information needed in the use case. We hold daily scrum meetings and Launch Customers are invited to attend any and all of these.”

“Early work with customers is validating the effectiveness of bringing innovative big data technologies like NoSQL and MapReduce to industrial process data,” said Michael Oczkowki, Seeq’s Chief Data Scientist in a statement, who notes that the company would like to bring their services to drive better decision making in such industrial markets like manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and energy.

The funding itself was led by Second Avenue Partners with participation from Madrona Venture group, Clear Fir Partners, Gaylord Kellogg, and others. “The market for the collection and storage of process data is already well served,” said Pete Higgins with Second Avenue. “Seeq now has the opportunity to provide high-speed decision support and analytics on top of this data to improve execution, drive down costs, and increase earnings.”

Based on the development model, we’re intrigued by what Seeq may end up launching in 2014. But it’s definitely not alone in trying to drive analytics and better decision making in the industrial space. Earlier this year, GE invested $105 million dollars in the EMC spin-out Pivotal to drive its own analytic solutions to fulfill its vision of the “industrial internet.” Likewise, companies like System Insights are already offering real-time analytics with data tools that connect into machine controllers to collect and analyze process efficiencies. And all that is without mentioning, Splunk, which has quickly dominated the sensor analytics space with their toolkit, and has recently released a Hadoop analytics kit to help make sense of big data sets.

While the space is ever crowding, the startup money keeps flowing in. We’ll look forward to seeing how everything shakes out as more money and more service offerings pour into the arena.

Related items:

Splunk Pumps Up Big Data with Hunk 

Manufacturing Real-Time Analytics on the Shop Floor 

Pivotal Launches With $105m Investment From GE