Big Data

Yammer mafia, indeed! Mode nabs $550K from David Sacks & other Yammer execs

Above: Mode Analytics' Heather Rivers, Josh Ferguson, Derek Steer, Benn Stancil (L-R)

A trio of former Yammer executives are launching a new company, dubbed Mode, with seed funding from their former chief executive and boss David Sacks.

The first set of products are still under development, but the goal is to build tools to make analysts and data scientists more productive.

Until August, Mode cofounder Derek Steer worked at Yammer (and Microsoft after the $1.2 billion acquisition) as a business analytics lead. Steer, and his Yammer colleagues Josh Ferguson and Benn Stancil, decided to build technology that would make it easier for data scientists to discover the work of others in their field.

The team saw a gap in the market for a a service that is similar to GitHub, but for data scientists.

“We are trying to help the data scientist who is working with languages like R, SQL and Python,” said Steer in a phone interview. “Mode takes all the data analysis from within an organization and automatically surfaces it, so analysts won’t have to always start from scratch.” The service will be available for free to anyone contributing to the community.


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Sacks describes Mode as the best “product – founder fit” he’s ever seen, which prompted him to make an investment.

“All the other analytics companies that I’ve seen are building dashboards of one sort or another. There’s definitely a market for that, but Mode is doing something different,” Sacks explained in an email, in which he introduced us to the new Yammer mafia. “Mode is…really the GitHub approach to code transposed to queries.”

Steer is currently reaching out to large companies as beta testers for the initial product, Yammer included. He expects that Mode will compete with other open data startups, like Enigma.io. This is a hot space, and we’ve heard from entrepreneurs who are building collaborative tools for data scientists to share their work.

Mode has raised a total of $550,000 in funding to date, which it will use to hire engineers and designers.

Sacks led the seed round, with participation from Peter Fishman, director of analytics at Yammer, David Obrand, former Yammer chief customer officer and now CEO at FuzeBox, and Brennan O’Donnell, former Yammer vice president who now works in sales at SurveyMonkey.

More information:

Yammer (acquired by Microsoft in 2012) is the leader in enterprise social networking, providing a secure way for employees to communicate, collaborate, and share information. The basic version of Yammer is free, and customers can pay t... read more »

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