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August 13, 2014

Startup Adatao Raises $13M for Big Data 2.0 Platform

Big data startup Adatao Inc. recently announced a $13 million funding round along with additions to its board of directors as it seeks to expand the customer base for big data analytics.

Adatao [ah-DAY-tao], Sunnyvale, Calif., was founded in 2012 by former Google and Yahoo engineers. It is betting on Apache Spark as the best platform for deploying a simplified user interface. The interface is said to resemble Google Docs.

The Series A funding round was led by Andreessen Horowitz, Bloomberg Beta and Lightspeed Ventures Partners. As part of the deal, Adatao said Peter Levine of Andreessen Horowitz would join it board. Marc Andreessen, the coauthor of the Mosaic web browser and co-founder of Netscape, will serve as a company advisor and board observer.

Adatao’s software runs on top of Apache Spark’s in-memory data framework, which Adatao engineers reckon is faster at processing data than MapReduce. The interface is designed so users can analyze data using Adatao’s API to perform queries using Python, SQL and other common languages.

The startup also offers a natural language query feature that allows users to enter text commands to analyze different datasets.

Adatao CEO Christopher Nguyen, former director of engineering at Google Apps, argues that the industry is in the midst of a transition from Big Data 1.0 to 2.0. The shift is similar from the web’s transition from technologies and functionality to better user interfaces.

In a blog post, Nguyen said Adatao engineers bet on Apache Spark “because we knew where the trends were heading,” namely, better interfaces that could expand the use of data analytics while broadening the company’s customer base. “We set out to build Big Data applications that assumed the mass availability of Big Compute,” he added.

The company unveiled its software last December, and is targeting a new group of smaller customers looking to leverage investments in Hadoop and other database tools.

Adatao’s currently product lineup includes pInsights, a tool that allows data scientists to interact with information in an interactive format. A predictive SmartQuery feature was built into Google Doc-type document that is designed to allow users to produce embedded analytics.

A second tool, pAnalytics, sifts through data represented as one large, simple table that conceals complexities. The company claimed data could be pulled in from an Apache Cassandra database, analyzed in Spark, and results saved back to S3 storage. All steps can be handled using one API, the company claims.

Adatao’s co-founder, Tuoc Luong, previously served as senior vice president of global search at Yahoo. Luong also held senior positions at Microsoft and Borland before co-founding Adatao with Nguyen.

The company currently counts financial services and telecommunications companies among its customers. It is targeting smaller companies that want to integrate Adatao’s software with their existing data analytics.

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