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DataScience, a startup that relies on the labor of data scientists to provide a cloud service nontechnical people can use to answer tough questions, announced today that it has taken on $6 million in funding.
Rather than just provide a self-service tool for instantly visualizing data that people upload, DataScience puts an emphasis on the time-consuming work that its experts do, including data cleaning and complex modeling.
“What we’re providing is data science to the business team, and this is something that’s drastically needed,” DataScience founder and chief executive Ian Swanson told VentureBeat in an interview.
Swanson points to the wide variety of business-oriented processes that the startup’s data scientists can perform, including recommendation systems, personalization, sales forecasting, customer segmentation, and fraud detection.
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The company could succeed by drawing on two types of business models. It’s one part back-to-the-basics consulting firm — like big data-focused Think Big Analytics, which Teradata acquired in September — and one part pay-as-you-go cloud service.
A company could buy software like Trifacta or Paxata to do data cleaning, predictive analytics tools to perform specific types of advanced computations, and business-intelligence tools like Tableau or Salesforce’s new Wave to visualize it all. Or a company could hire a data scientist. Swanson’s got a different idea in mind. He’s brought the talent in house and assembled a team of 25 data scientists and engineers. The headcount should hit 60 to 70 by end of year.
“For the price of one data scientist, [customers] get four or five data scientists leveraging our tools to work on data to actually drive business value,” Swanson said.
And it’s paying off for the company.
“We’re able to drive margin on a per-account basis in terms of cost of goods sold,” Swanson said.
Customers are paying more than $100,000 a year for the service, although companies can pay for it by the month.
DataScience now has around 10 customers, including Belkin, Dollar Shave Club, and Sonos.
Competition could come from companies with data science consulting services, including Booz Allen Hamilton, EMC, and SAP. Pivotal also has a cadre of data scientists at the ready for companies to use.
DataScience started last year and is based in Culver City, California.
“People are literally moving from the Bay Area to L.A. to work at our company,” Swanson said.
Greycroft Partners led a new $4.5 million round in the startup. Crosscut Ventures, Pelion Venture Partners, and TenOnTen participated in an earlier $1.5 million round.
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