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Now we have a sense of what sorts of startups new big data venture firm Data Elite considers elite.

The San Francisco firm, which invests between $150,000 and $1 million and provides office space and advice from data luminaries like Facebook analytics chief Ken Rudin, revealed the seven startups in its inaugural three-month class today.

After coming up with a shortlist from more than 200 applications, Data Elite had its advisors rank startups based on product, team, and market, managing partner Stamos Venios told VentureBeat. Startups with considerable data talent came out on top — sort of like the Navy Seals of big data startups.

One startup includes the former chief technology officer of Zynga’s systems engineering group. Another comes from a cofounder of venture-backed fundraising site Rally.org. Still another includes the first employee from analytics company Ayasdi.

Data Elite is one of several VC firms that have made clear commitments to the big data market. Data Collective and IA Ventures come to mind, as does Accel Partners, which has a big data fund.

Data Collective’s Matt Ocko and Accel’s Jake Flomenberg will both be on hand at our DataBeat conference in San Francisco on May 19-20, where we’ll be highlighting several big data startups and talking about how data can help companies increase revenue and decrease costs.

Perhaps some of the first Data Elite startups will end up providing those sorts of advantages.

In any case, here is the first batch:

  • Weft: Tracks shipping containers using low-cost hardware to make sure packages get where they need to on time and intact
  • Covve: An innovative online application that reinvents the professional address book. It empowers contact owners and allows companies to extract business value from their informal contact network.
  • 451 Degrees ‘Graffiti’: Next-generation application delivery network that automatically optimizes content in real-time by analyzing user-generated comments to enhance engagement, SEO, search traffic, and online advertising sales.
  • Unravel: An enterprise-grade operations and performance management platform. This technology enables automatic problem detection, rapid troubleshooting and mitigation, application acceleration, and smart resource allocation and capacity planning.
  • O-RA (Pronounced: “Aura”): A data visualization platform that is creating a new form of the ‘digital self’ by mapping personal data — from social networks biometrics daily activities, etc. — into an aggregate, multidimensional, and prescriptive social identity. (This is the one with Zynga DNA.)
  • Sensai: The world is awash in unstructured information. At Sensai, we are building a Consensus Discovery Engine to provide insight to business users from that information. Sensai is a novel system that reads millions of pieces of content and instantly derives consensus of opinion on topics that analysts value. (Rally cofounder Jonas Lamis’ company.)
  • Pattern EQ: Aims to predict the future behavior of business by understanding what drives the business and what impacts the revenue growth, forecasting how revenue streams will change, and predicting customer behavior to boost overall customer retention. (Includes Tigran Ishkhanov, formerly of Ayasdi.)

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