This week, San Francisco-based data analytics company Enso came out of hiding with a $16.5 million funding round.
The company’s open source platform provides a self-service visual data environment that is both an IDE and a programming language and can be used by technical and non-technical users. Enso claims that it is as user-friendly as Excel or other spreadsheet tools. The company says its free product enables users of various expertise to create and automate data processes by connecting visual components.
Visual components, created by data input, can process data and produce results using Enso’s high performance data processing engine enabling visualization of millions of data points in real time. “For example, one component can consume a dataset of ad locations in a city, the next component can filter only bus stop ads, which is available as a rendered map of the city with plotted ads,” the company said in a press release. Instead of writing code, users can update their data, monitor changes in real time, and make changes by mapping visual components in various formats including geophysical maps, point clouds, tables and histograms.
Enso was co-founded by engineer Wojciech Daniło, the company’s CEO and CTO, and physicist and computer scientist Sylwia Brodacka, who designs and manages Enso’s products. The duo were colleagues for eight years in the visual effects industry before founding Enso.
“When my co-founder, Sylwia, and I were in our previous roles helping VFX artists process data, we were repeatedly asked by companies in other industries if it was possible to use our tools for their data,” Danilo said. “It became clear to us that there was a serious problem, largely due to the shortage of data scientists.”
In an introductory video to Enso, Daniło states that current methods of creating software are “intrinsically broken” and don’t allow for creativity or interactivity. “You bury yourself in the code and get away from the real problems you’re trying to solve,” he said. In the video, he demonstrates exactly how the platform works using the aforementioned example of bus stop ads using data from Los Angeles Open Data, a public API data source easily accessed by the platform. Within minutes, Daniło finds the company with the most listings on bus stops in Los Angeles and creates a map showing where each one is.
It is well known that time is running out with data science. Repetitive tasks such as updating spreadsheets and formatting and augmenting data take up valuable time that could be used to solve analytical problems. A lack of interactivity in spreadsheets makes it difficult to test ideas, and they can be slow and difficult to manage as data changes. This complex system requires data scientists to organize and manage these complex data sets, and data professionals are often in short supply and in high demand.
Given the current shortage, Enso believes its platform can help fill the gaps. “Because Enso makes analytics so accessible, companies no longer need to spend significant resources hiring dedicated data scientists and engineers to support business analytics,” the company said.
Others seem to agree. The latest $16.5 million funding round saw participation from SignalFire, Khosla Ventures, Day One Ventures, Decacorn Capital, Y Combinator, Samsung Next, Harvard’s Endowment, West Coast Endeavors, Innovation Nest, and more. The company says it is community-driven and has an active Dischord that encourages community participation and innovation.
“Enso takes a lot of the pressure off companies struggling to hire enough data scientists to keep up with today’s huge amounts of data,” said Sandhya Venkatachalam, partner at Khosla Ventures. “This is a game-changer for businesses in the many industries that rely heavily on gaining insights from data for competitive advantage.”
What is Data Science? A Turing Award winner shares his perspective
Seeking Data Science Talent with Dr. Kirk Borne
Data prep still dominates data scientist time, survey finds