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March 1, 2022

OmniSci Gets HEAVY New Name and New CEO

OmniSci, developers of a GPU-based analytics database, today announced it has changed its name to HEAVY.AI. There’s also a change of leadership at the top of the San Francisco company, as Jon Kondo takes over for co-founder and former CEO Todd Mostak.

HEAVY.AI got its start back in 2013 as MapD Technologies, which Mostak and Thomas Graham spun out from an MIT CSAIL research project. As a Harvard graduate student, Mostak was analyzing the social media aspects of the Arab Spring, which took place a couple years earlier, and needed a way to interactively query huge amounts of Twitter data. Conventional analytics tools couldn’t deliver the response he needed, so he turned to GPUs, which gave him the processing boost he needed to analyze billions of rows of time- and geo-coded data.

Other use cases quickly emerged, including with the always-demanding telecommunications industry, large retailers, as well as the US government, as evidenced by an investment by In-Q-Tel in the company back in 2016. Over the years, HEAVY.AI has attracted more than $92 million in investments through five funding grounds (which includes one seed round and one pre-seed round).

While the core of the company’s IP revolves around the column-oriented relational database developed to run on GPUs, HEAVY.AI has moved beyond being a one-trick pony. In addition to running atop regular Intel CPUs in addition to more powerful GPUs from Nvidia (thanks to it being developed on the LLVM compiler technology), the company has developed a GUI, called Immerse, that’s designed to deliver a compelling analytics experience for users.

HEAVY.AI has also worked to bring machine learning to the platform by supporting the Nvidia RAPIDS library, as the company discussed at its 2019 Converge conference, which took place just before the COVID-19 pandemic brought an end to in-person conference.

But now the company is ready to move forward, with a new name and new leadership. Mostak, who is a 2017 Datanami Person to Watch, is stepping down from the CEO position to become its CTO. Taking his place is Jon Kondo, who previously was the senior vice president of global sales and marketing for training data specialist Appen.

Jon Kondo is the new CEO for HEAVY.AI (formerly OmniSci)

HEAVY.AI says it’s changing the name following a period of “strong momentum for the company, including 60% growth and increased customer retention in telecommunications, energy, and geospatial industries, as well as the public sector.” It says it has attracted new customers like Charter Communications, IHS Markit, Orennia, Smart Communications, and others.

In a statement, Kondo says it’s time to take a heavy stance on big data.

“Heavy business challenges with heavy data calls for a solution that goes beyond the traditional BI and GIS tools available today,” he says in a press release. “HEAVY.AI is powerful technology that takes diverse datasets at scale and delivers fast, contextual analysis by leveraging the massive parallelism of GPU and CPU hardware. We envision a world where decision makers can access critical, time-sensitive information from anywhere within milliseconds, when scale and accuracy are paramount.”

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