skip navigation

2015 Report

Executive Summary

» Full Report
PDF - 1.5MB

The Innovation Institute at MassTech has identified eight key indicators that summarize Massachusetts’ competitive position in big data and the expansion of the big data ecosystem. This executive summary outlines these indicators and related findings. Each section of the full report following the executive summary details a particular aspect of the Big Data Ecosystem, based on the indicators outlined below. The report is designed to give a clear understanding of how the big data industry can spur economic growth in Massachusetts

Continued Expansion of the Big Data Ecosystem:

500+Over 500 pure play big data and data-driven companies operate in Massachusetts today; 53 new big data companies founded in Massachusetts over the last two years.

There are 537 companies in the Mass Big Data ecosystem, including companies whose main products and/or services directly relate to big data; companies that are data-driven; and larger companies with one or more departments driven by big data. Most of these companies and business units develop software for data analysis, integration, visualization, business intelligence or other related work. They cover many different market sectors, with the top three industries being: Business Analytics (29%), AdTech & Marketing (14%), and Digital Health (11%) (Figure 2). The last two years have seen global brands growing their data-driven offices in the greater Boston area, including: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM.

Funding Ramp Up:
investment$2.4B reported investments in 102 big data companies over last two years.

134 big data and data-driven companies in Massachusetts received investment funding from the start of 2013 to August, 2015. Of these firms, 102 disclosed the amount of their investment funding, and the total investment into these companies hovers over $2.4B. LuminaCare Solutions, Wayfair, and HubSpot received the most investment, $617.8M, $366.8M, and $172.5M respectively since their first investment rounds.LuminaCare Solutions uses predictive analytics to help physicians manage drug doses for their patients. Wayfair is a data-driven eCommerce company that specializes in home décor. HubSpot is a software company that strives to streamline targeted marketing strategies. Pure play big data companies, Hadapt and Tamr, received $50M and $25.2M respectively. Hadapt provides an analytical platform for unstructured data and was acquired by Teradata in July 2014. Tamr offers a data unification platform for companies who would like to gain insights from their own data.

Federal Grants Increase:
grantsClose to 200 big data projects in Massachusetts have received new funds over the last two years.

Massachusetts research universities, institutions, and hospitals have received over $115M from the federal government in the form of prime grants to fund 194 different projects. A majority of these grants were funded by the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the National Science Foundation, NASA, and NOAA, among others. The most highly funded projects work to combine disparate data sets for highly complex analysis. Other projects address connectomics (the field that bridges neuroscience and data analytics), STEM education in Massachusetts, sustainability, AIDS research, and climate science.

Data-driven Innovation:
innovationThe Mass Big Data Ecosystem includes 56 data-driven research centers, nine of which focus solely on computational science and big data applications, which drive innovation in Massachusetts.

More and more research centers within universities and hospitals, along with non-for-profit research institutes and federally funded research and development centers, are turning to data-driven directives and strategies to conduct research. The Mass Big Data ecosystem currently boasts 44 research centers at eight universities and five hospitals, in addition to 12 stand-alone research institutions across the Commonwealth. Almost half of these centers use data-driven, analytical research methods to develop technologies, create computational tools, and provide insight into the fields of healthcare and life sciences. Other centers apply data-driven research to the fields of public policy, education, and cybersecurity.

The Big Data Community is Thriving:
community52 active Meetup groups related to big data hold events, discussions, and meetings across the Commonwealth.

There are currently 52 active Meetup groups in Massachusetts that come together to discuss topics and issues related to big data, including machine learning, Hadoop, predictive analytics, data mining, programming education, and data’s impact on social systems. The number of Meetup groups in the big data ecosystem has grown by 25 since 2013 (the total now includes 36 newly formed groups and 11 groups that have since become inactive). These Meetup groups have reached tens of thousands of data scientists, entrepreneurs, computer scientists, programmers, and those interested in data across the Commonwealth. In the past two years the total membership in Meetup groups and the number of Meetups has more than doubled.

Massachusetts is a Leader in Big Data Patents:
patents20 percent more patents than the United States as a whole in select Big Data-related categories, and a 46% increase in patents in big data-related categories from 2010 to 2014.

3,191 patents were granted to Massachusetts inventors in 2013 and 2014 combined in 23 technology classes that relate to the processing and use of data. The number of patents awarded in Massachusetts in these technology classes has grown by 46% from 2010 to 2014. The top patent-producing categories in the Commonwealth are finance and business, database management, and data transfer. Furthermore, in select big data categories Massachusetts produces at least 20% more patents than the average U.S. state.

Intensified Focus on Talent:
talent222 Massachusetts colleges and universities offer over 70 data science, analytics, informatics, and related undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs; 10 of which are pure data science degree programs.

Massachusetts’ colleges and universities are responding to the increasing need for skills in data science, data analytics, and informatics. As the amount of data continues to grow, so does the demand for employees who have the skills to work with this data. After 2013, the first data science graduate programs in the state began to emerge, including a Master in Computational Science and Engineering at Harvard; a PhD program in data science at WPI; and a Masters in Data Science at UMass Amherst through its new Center for Data Science. In total, five colleges and universities offer 10 programs in data science (with three additional data science concentrations).In addition to these 10 programs in pure data science, there are 61 additional major and minor programs in disciplines that have a very strong connection to data science, including computational biology, business analytics, and health informatics, among others. About 40% of the programs have been founded in the past three years, an indication that academic institutions in Massachusetts are responding to the growing demand for skilled professionals to enter big data careers in a variety of verticals.

The Data Workforce is Here:
workforce6,170 students in data-related STEM fields graduated from Massachusetts colleges and universities in 2013, a 10% increase from 2012.

6,170 students graduated from academic institutions in the Commonwealth in 2013 with degrees in data-related STEM fields driving data science, which include computer science, engineering, the life sciences, mathematics, operations research, and quantitative economics. These students have strong quantitative skills which can serve as a foundation for a career at a data-driven company or as a student in one of the Commonwealth’s advanced data science degree programs. The STEM degree categories with the most growth from 2012 to 2013 are Medical Informatics, Management Information Systems and Services, and Management Sciences.