This Thursday, Trifacta came out of stealth mode by announcing $4.3 million in Series A funding led by Accel Partners, with additional participation from X/Seed Capital, Data Collective and angel investors Dave Goldberg, Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman. Trifacta’s mission is to “radically enhance productivity for data analysis” by delivering a solution catered to the human resources responsible for gleaning business significance out of data analysis. Based on the premise that the cost of skilled data analysts continues to rise while the costs of storage and computation become progressively lower, Trifacta intends to enhance the ability of analysts to more effectively manipulate, mine and derive insights from massive amounts of structured data. In an interview with VentureBeat, TriFacta’s co-founder and CEO Joe Hellerstein elaborated on the company’s mission as follows:
There is a lot of talk about engines and algorithms for unlocking value in data. But real value comes from the people who drive the analysis. The question is how you get data into the form where people can get some value out of it.
Similarly, Ping Li, head of Accel’s Big Data fund elaborated on his fund’s interest in Trifacta by noting:
The world doesn’t need another Hadoop or SQL company. The biggest problem with big data is around the ability to get information out of it. That gap is huge, and it’s not going to be solved anytime soon. This is really the soft underbelly of big data right now.
Hellerstein and Ping Li both point to the importance of facilitating access to business insights from Big Data in contrast to merely delivering an enterprise grade storage solution. Trifacta was founded as a result of collaborations between computer scientists at UC Berkeley and Stanford University. The company’s leadership team features cofounder Joe Hellerstein, former Professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley, Jeffrey Heer, Co-Founder & Chief Experience Officer and Sean Kandel as CTO, whose Ph.D. dissertation research at Stanford University examined interactive products for manipulating data. CXO Jeffrey Heer is also an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, where he leads the Stanford Visualization Group. Specific details of the company’s solutions remain under wraps at present, though Trifacta’s website reports that the company is busily preparing details of solutions for public release while it gears up for a round of aggressive hiring.