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Metanautix, a stealth-mode startup that wants to help companies speed up the process of prepping data for analysis, announced today that it has taken on $7 million in initial funding.

The startup’s tools can come in handy to extract, transform, and load [ETL] data, but they can also let people run ad-hoc SQL queries on data, wherever it might live. Metanautix goes out of its way to support a wide variety of data sources, but it can also work in harmony with basic data visualization tools for end users like Tableau.

“As an enterprise product, one of our goals is to fit into deployment environments, especially large enterprises, where heterogeneity is not about to go away,” Metanautix founder and chief executive Theo Vassilakis said in an interview with VentureBeat.

Metanautix has signed up half a dozen customers, including Hewlett-Packard. Now the idea is to work with more companies and make its service available to all by the end of the year, Vassilakis said.

For now, it’s a bit hard to grasp all of the startup’s capabilities, with Vassilakis declining to provide screen shots of the software or go into very much detail. But suffice it to say that Metanautix could end up appealing to many businesses that want to get to the important insights from analytics more quickly and give people more powerful tools.

In some sense, then, the startup could find itself going up against giants in the ETL business, like Informatica, and it could also run into tools that let people more easily query data, including big companies like Teradata and up-and-comers like Mode Analytics.

One point of distinction from Mode and other tools: Metanautix runs where companies want it to run, whether it be on a cloud, in an on-premises data center, or on a laptop. “It’s the same interface to you as a user,”
Vassilakis said.

Metanautix started in late 2012 and is based in Palo Alto, Calif. The company employs 25 people and is growing, Vassilakis said.

Vassilakis has the distinction of leading up the development of the Google Dremel query system for exploring large data sets data with SQL-like query language.

Meanwhile co-founder and chief technology officer Apostolos Lerios worked with the Hive data warehousing tool that uses SQL-like statements while he was a senior software engineer working on infrastructure at Facebook.

Sequoia Capital, Shiva Shivakumar, and the Stanford University endowment fund participated in the round.

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