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Big Data, Mere Mortals, Meaningful Consumption and Money

ClearStory doesn’t have a product or a UI yet – maybe later this year – but it reckons Big Data is the next $50 billion industry

Little six-month-old ClearStory Data, which calls itself a self-driven data exploration service, came out of stealth mode Monday with an undisclosed amount of seed money from Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures and some relatively eminent private parties.

Those personal investors include Andy Rachleff, founder of Benchmark Capital and CEO at Wealthfront; Anand Rajaraman and Venky Harinarayan, senior VPs at Walmart Global e-Commerce and co-founders of Junglee and Kosmix; Tim Howes, co-founder of Rockmelt and ex-CTO of Netscape, and Nitin Donde, a one-time executive at EMC, 3Par and Aster Data.

Vinod Khosla of course is one of Sun's three founders. Google Ventures is backing statistical companies these days and Andreessen is pouring money into every start-up with a shot at the brass ring.

ClearStory's promoters say that "if Big Data is a river rich with gold prospects, then ClearStory is the pan that filters it to the top."

If nothing else, its backers glint brightly in the sun because of the money they've got.

ClearStory doesn't have a product or a UI yet - maybe later this year - but it reckons Big Data is the next $50 billion industry. A supportive IDC figures Big Data oughta be good for $16.9 billion by 2015. You know, the sort of figures start-ups dangle in front of VCs.

It appears ClearStory has a bunch of algorithms to tease data with and the notion of giving ordinary mortals - who it calls "the masses" - the ability to "intuitively" wring business opportunities out of a combination of the otherwise hard-to-reach corporate data in relational databases, newfangled Hadoop-derived insights, and all that juicy publicly available stuff right there on the Internet. It calls exploiting this Big Data's "last mile" problem.

See, ClearStory figures - and who will argue - that there's not enough qualified data professionals in the world to deal with the tsunami of data that's being unleashed. So it's targeting its widgetry at the techno-proletariat, figuring to empower them to seek statistical insights.

It must have been the Wall Street Journal that quoted McKinsey Global Institute's projection that the US alone is shy 190,000 people with "analytical expertise."

To simplify things, ClearStory is supposed to present the heterogeneous data visually. It says it will be done "on a massive scale." It's not saying how it's blending all this disparate stuff together. Public and private clouds are part of the whole presentation layer and a way to get at the web data sets.

ClearStory's founders include CEO Sharmila Shahani-Mulligan, a marketer out of Netscape, Kiva Software, Opsware and clustered database house Aster Data, along with Aster Data graduates John Cieslewicz and Vaibhav Nivargi. Opsware, started in 2000 by Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, was acquired by HP for $1.6 billion and Aster Data by Teradata for $263 million not that long ago

ClearStory Data says it's hiring engineers - it reportedly surfaced early to attract people - with expertise in distributed systems, high-performance data processing, analytics, visualization, unstructured data and Hadoop to flesh out its skeleton crew. See [email protected].

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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