Big Data Ecosystem
There are 537 companies in the Mass Big Data ecosystem, most of which offer software as their primary product. One third of the companies produce either data analysis software or applications geared toward specific verticals (Figure 1). These companies serve a variety of verticals, tailoring their products to one or more specific industries. From both the products they offer and specific verticals to which they cater, companies can be categorized by industry. The top three industries for big data companies are Business Analytics (29%), AdTech & Marketing (14%), and Digital Health (11%) (Figure 2).
Burning Glass' platform analyzes labor market data to better inform the work of HR teams and college career centers
Companies are considered to be in the analytics industry if they analyze data as their primary business, whereas they are considered pure play big data companies if they offer products and/or services that are specific to big data. More specifically, business analytics companies analyze their clients’ data, or provide software that does this analysis, to drive revenue and growth for their clients. One example of business analytics is Burning Glass’ platform which analyzes labor market data to better inform the work of HR teams and college career centers. Another example is the software provided by Machine Metrics, which collects and analyzes manufacturing data to increase efficiency in the workplace. Some industries represented in the “Other” category in Figure 2 include weather, fantasy sports, and education.
The regional big data ecosystem continues to expand at an impressive rate: the number of companies in the big data ecosystem has more than doubled in the past ten years (Figure 3). Some of the companies, started before the term “big data” was coined, have since been identified as data-driven if data is an integral component of their business platform. The companies in the ecosystem are diverse in terms of both age and employment (Figures 4 & 5). At 65% of the companies, over half of the employees work in big data, proving that the companies in this ecosystem are committed to gaining insight from big data and that data is an essential part of the companies’ missions.
With a strong network of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, a sizeable number of new companies begin in Boston each year. Since 2013, 53 big data companies, across a wide range of verticals, have been founded in the Commonwealth (Figure 6). Some examples follow.
Tamr, founded in 2013 by Andy Palmer, Mike Stonebraker, and Ihab Ilyas, all with expertise in the field of database engineering, allows companies to integrate disparate data sets in a time and cost efficient manner. Tamr’s clients — including Toyota, Thomson Reuters, and General Electric — speak to the company’s relevance and leadership in multiple industries. In September 2015, Tamr unleashed a Beta version of its new software, Tamr Catalog, which categorizes data sets, visualizes relationships between data sets, and provides metadata related to each data set. Their software is targeted to all employees who work with data, in order to maximize the time they spend analyzing their company’s data and ensure that they are aware of the potential uses and implications of the data sets available to them.
Cazena was founded in 2014 by Prat Moghe and Jit Saxena to transform the way companies approach big data processing.13 Launched in 2015, Cazena’s big data as a service platform gives companies access to enterprise big data through the cloud. Cazena’s groundbreaking technology is able to overcome the challenges that data processing in the cloud presents and has created a “workload intelligence” component which optimizes performance. Furthermore, the service saves companies both labor and capital resources that are spent determining how to store and process their own big data.
Bridj, founded in 2014 and a leader in the mass transportation industry, continually develops shuttle routes based on real-time and historical transportation demand data. Bridj applies a data-driven approach to transportation in the cities of Boston, Kansas City, and Washington, D.C., making it a unique and competitive company. 80 percent of its employees work directly with big data, a comparatively high percentage across the Mass Big Data ecosystem. Bridj plans to add five more developers to its engineering team in the near future.
Bridj applies a data-driven approach to transportation in the cities of Boston, Kansas City, and Washington, D.C., making it a unique and competitive company. 80 percent of its employees work directly with big data, a comparatively high percentage across the Mass Big Data ecosystem.
Evervest, was founded in 2014 by two MIT alums to create transparency in an industry bogged down by data. EverVest provides risk analysis on wind energy projects by applying a machine learning algorithim to wind measurement data. The results from this analysis predict future wind measurements at a specific location, crucial information for investors in wind energy. The software also provides a more detailed look into a potential wind energy investment by analyzing credit risk data and providing portfolio monitoring and analytical reporting features. The company’s software sits at the intersection of CleanTech and FinTech, making it a unique company in the regional big data ecosystem.