These days, it takes guts for a company to make a strategic decision without referring to the numbers. However, accessing the most useful data is easier said than done.

It’s extremely expensive for small to medium sized-businesses (SMB’s) to access the tools they need to store and model their data. Even if they fork over the cash for a business intelligence tool, there is little room left in the budget to hire a team of database analysts to manage the service.

Today, Chartio launches an alternative: an analytics dashboard for companies to visualize their data. The small team of founders have been working on the technology for several years, and aggressively testing it with users. As is increasingly the case with early-stage enterprise software companies (particularly those that can avoid selling to CIO’s), Chartio’s founders have been focussed on beautifying the product and making it easy to use.

“”I started Chartio out of frustration in the difficulty of visualizing the data in my database,” said Dave Fowler, Chartio’s CEO and cofounder.

“My idea was to build an interactive dashboard where even a business user could create charts, and engineers wouldn’t have to deal with learning different API’s, SQL syntaxes and charting libraries,” he explained.

At present, Chartio is marketing to startups and SMB’s that do not have the budget for a legacy vendor like Oracle or SAP. These companies, often in hyper-growth mode, will need all the help they can get to fend off stiff competition.

One of the first customers, Ticketbis, an international ticketing company, used the product to uncover patterns on how customers are buying tickets for concerts and other events. It turns out that a vast number of purchases that were made from outside the U.S. or the country of the event. In response, Ticketbis was able to tailor their product and expand into international markets.

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“Chartio saved our business time and money in the long run because it provided us with easy access to see what our customers wanted from Ticketbis,” said Jorge Diaz Largo, product director of Ticketbis in a statement.  “For example we were able to drill down into our customer purchasing patterns,” he said.

Fowler is also trying to put an end to the the endless back and forth communication chains between marketing and IT departments. This game of email tennis typically occurs when a data needs to be stored, processed and packaged on a tight deadline.

Sign up to the service, and an IT rep will need to set up to the software to integrate with existing data sources, including Google Analytics, Oracle RDBMS, PostgreSQL, AWS RDS, Rackspace Cloud Databases, Heroku, and MySQL (a Salesforce integration is under development). Once the basic set-up is complete, it’s out of IT’s purview, and can be managed by any employee in an organization.

What may prove interesting to investors is that by appealing to marketing, sales and IT, the company has opened up its channels of distribution. This will be particularly useful if it ramps up its efforts to sell to larger enterprises.

With the launch today, Chartio is releasing a host of additional features. These include:

  • Dashboard Filters: Visual, user-friendly controls that quickly shift every chart on a dashboard to a new metric. Date ranges can be changed with a slider that shows actual data, so customers can zero-in on when events actually happened – not just arbitrary calendar days – or the entire view can be pivoted per product, per category, or by any similar metric.
  • Automatic Drill-downs: Chartio automatically drills through time-series or category-based charts, so nearly any line chart or bar graph will drill-down into more finite data ranges without any custom set-up work.
  • Dashboard Layouts: A new grid system provides much greater control over how dashboards can be laid out, and scales to fit any size of display.
  • Dashboard export and reporting: Any single chart can be downloaded as a PDF, PNG or CSV, whole dashboards can be downloaded for printing as a PDF, and PDF dashboard delivery can be scheduled by email for any Chartio customer.
  • Improved Dashboard and Chart User Interface: Chartio continues to make readability and the presentation of beautiful data its top priorities. The new chart and dashboard interfaces showcase the data, letting controls, buttons and distractions blend into the background.

The San Francisco-based company is a recent graduate of Y Combinator, the highly-competitive Silicon Valley accelerator program. It has 800 customers and has experienced 30 percent growth month-over-month.

To date, the company has raised a total of $4.4 million from investors like Cloudera’s cofounder Jeff Hammerbacher, and Data Collective’s Matt Ocko. Crosslink Capital and Avalon Ventures participated in the most recent funding round.