Mode, a company that is building an online repository for data science work, announced today that it has secured a $550,000 seed round of funding led by Yammer founder David Sacks. Mode CEO Derek Steer previously worked at Yammer, including after its acquisition by Microsoft.
Mode calls itself the “GitHub for Data Analysis.” While I tend to scorn “We’re the X for Y” comparisons by startups, Mode has a point: It supports storing work online, publicly, in a way that helps data scientists avoid reinventing the wheel. Quite similar to what GitHub provides developers. Also, Mode intends to charge users to keep their stored data work private. Public storage will be free. Again, this mimics GitHub. I don’t say that pejoratively; GitHub is a success story.
In short, if you work in data science, Mode will sport a number of models and other work that you can apply to your own data sets. Mode isn’t alone in building a product to support data analysis. Companies such as Kaggle are pushing the larger data science effort forward. Both are betting that data science as a market niche is growing now, and will continue to do so for years.
I hate to sound too positive, but they are correct. The declining price of storage, the increasing power of computing, and a technological shift towards tracking more and storing more are generating what PR folks love to call “big data.” Once you have all that information, of course, you want to make it talk. And that’s the loose way to define data science.
Mode has all its work still ahead of it, of course. It has to generate a critical mass of data scientists to make its product worth using: Data models can be very targeted, meaning that it may require a very large upload base to become useful to the average data scientist.
I spoke with Mode’s Steer, and he indicated that integration with AWS, a service that the company itself uses, is something that will be added in the future.
$550,000 isn’t much money by current technology norms. But it should be sufficient capital for Mode to prove its market size if it has measured correctly. And when it needs more money, it has a few friends already in the tank that have deep enough pockets.
Top Image Credit: Kevin Krejci