Data science is the name of the game these days for companies that want to improve their decision making by tapping their apps and other systems with the information they are already collecting. And today, a startup called Mode Analytics, which has built a platform that incorporates machine learning, business intelligence, and big data analytics to help data scientists accomplish that task, is announcing $33 million in funding to keep making its platform ever more sophisticated.
For example, more recently, the organization has begun to implement tools (including SQL and Python tutorials) for less experienced customers, especially those in product departments, so that they can organize queries that data scientists will then perform more easily and with more detailed responses — important with the multiple follow-up issues that occur when a market intelligence process is operated. Mode claims its tools can help produce in-minute answers to data queries.
With previous investors Valor Equity Partners, Foundation Capital, REV Venture Partners and Turn Companies all involved, this Series D is led by SaaS specialist investor H.I.G. Growth Partners. In February 2019, Valor led Mode’s Series C while Foundation and REV led their A and B rounds, respectively.
The mode does not reveal its valuation but Derek Steer, co-founder, and CEO confirmed in an interview that it was “absolutely” an up-round.
For some context, PitchBook notes its valuation last year was $106 million. The company now has a customer list of 52 percent of the Forbes 500, including Anheuser-Busch, Zillow, Lyft, Bloomberg, Capital One, VMware, and Conde Nast, which it says.
Steer said the startup impetus came from the gaps in the market that the three found in other companies through years of experience.
Indeed, Mode ‘s growth so far has mirrored that of the overall rise of data science, as the data science discipline, and the business case for employing data scientists to help figure out what’s going on beyond the day-to-day, getting answers by tapping all the data that’s being accumulated in the business-only process. That means that the market addressable to Mode has also grown.
But even if there has been growth in the trove of potential buyers of Mode ‘s products, the overall opportunity has also. In the last few years, there has been a great swing in data science and big data analytics, with several tech companies building tools to help those who are less technical “become data scientists” by introducing more intuitive interfaces such as drag-and-drop features and natural language queries.
Mode ‘s approach to date has been closer to that of another competitor, Alteryx, focusing on building tools that still mainly aim to help data scientists themselves. You have a range of database resources on the market today, Steer noted, “Snowflake, Redshift, BigQuery, Databricks, take your pick.” The goal now is to offer support to those who use those databases to do their job more efficiently and faster.
Specifically, they were part of a wider team developing custom data processing software for Yammer while all three were working together at Yammer (they were early employees and remained on until the Microsoft acquisition). At the time, Steer said Yammer paid $1 million a year to sign up for Vertica (acquired by HP in 2011) to run it.