Look in any direction, and you’ll see a big data startup. But they’re not created equal.

They might sound intriguing, but they won’t always bring direct impact on the top line, or the bottom line, for that matter.

Then again, a few startups actually have the potential to help companies grow where it matters. We’ve covered some of these companies, and in less than three weeks, their execs will be talking onstage at our DataBeat conference in San Francisco.

Executives from data-smart companies like Cloudera, New Relic, RelateIQ, Trifacta, and Mode Analytics will speak. And customers will show just how much value they’ve derived from using next-generation software and infrastructure. Believe me when I say proof of direct growth isn’t always easy to come by. But we’ve found proof.

Case studies for days

Case in point: Paul Cheesbrough, chief technology of News Corp, will talk about the perks of using RelateIQ’s “relationship-intelligence” software during a fireside chat with RelateIQ co-founder and chief technology officer Adam Evans.

MindJet data scientist Anna Gordon will describe the advantages of using Looker’s business-intelligence software. Looker chief executive Frank Bien will share the stage with Gordon.

And Simon Zhang, director of business analytics at LinkedIn, will explain how using Tableau’s data visualization software factored into the social networking company boosting its business services revenue by 85 percent year over year. Ellie Fields, Tableau’s senior director of product marketing, will join Zhang during that keynote session.

Looking forward

The conference won’t just contain testimonials of technology from the past.

Investors who have backed data-savvy companies like RelateIQ and Trifacta — Accel’s Jake Flomenberg, Data Collective’s Matt Ocko, Redpoint’s Scott Raney, and XSeed Capital’s Robert Siegel — will speak about technologies that will influence the future.

And we’ll hold a special forward-looking session during which technology experts like Datameer chief executive Stefan Groschupf, former LinkedIn principal data scientist Pete Skomoroch, and Metamarkets founder and chief executive Mike Driscoll. A similar talk at DataBeat 2013 generated lots of dialogue, and we expect similar effects this time around.

The Hadoop factor

And then there’s the continuing rise of Hadoop for storing, processing, and analyzing lots of different kinds of data. Hadoop could provide companies with a better view of past, present, and future operations. No wonder chip giant Intel has put major money into prominent Hadoop vendor Cloudera.

Ron Kasabian, Intel’s vice president and general manager of big data solutions, will speak with Cloudera chief technologist Eli Collins about the rationale of the deal and Hadoop’s prospects in the years to come.

In summation — if you haven’t bought tickets yet, you should. Right here. See you at the show!