In an age of information overload, some of our most influential heroes are those with the brains and tools to help us make sense of it all.
Austin's big data players have found themselves uniquely well positioned to make their mark on industries such as energy, medicine, and finance. But they've also made inroads in emerging technologies and even customer support.
Here are 19 of the city's most well-funded, fastest-growing, and powerful big data companies.
What they do: Drillinginfo, another Texas success story, works to make the energy sector more data-driven. It has been around since the '90s and has raised over $200M for its work, influencing Austin's tech scene tremendously and having some fun in the meantime.
How it's changing big data: Its analytics are designed to be distributed and understood throughout organizations, "from the rig floor to the top floor." Thus, it demonstrates how the right interpretations of the right data can bring businesses together.
What they do: RunTitle is the largest database on mineral ownership in the US. With access to data on gas and oil deposits, investors and real estate owners can make more informed decisions on property investments.
How it's changing big data: RunTitle collects data on oil and gas transactions that occur every day. The massive amount of data, once unavailable to the general public, is made readily available in order for investors to make smarter mineral investment decisions.
What they do: Measuring the ROI of public relations efforts has always been a tricky business, but TrendKite's algorithms are making things easier. The SaaS platform breaks down mammoth amounts of data from across the digital world to paint comprehensive portraits of how client brands are perceived.
How it's changing big data: TrendKite's explosive year-over-year growth clearly indicates how dramatically it is changing the industry, and altering PR's DNA.
What they do: Vyopta manages and analyzes web and video collaboration networks for some of the world's most powerful providers and industries.
How it's changing big data: Remote work is here to stay. More and more firms, particularly established corporations, are using Vyopta's tools to make sure they get the most out of off-site conferencing and collaboration. This growth is reflected in Vyopta's aggressive fundraising and hiring.
What they do: Cloudera is a data management and analytics platform with one eye locked on security. It provides sensitive clients with an Apache Hadoop platform that allows them to crunch their data and protect it from leaks and harmful entities.
How it's changing big data: In 2014, Cloudera acquired the local infosec powerhouse Gazzang, which had already established itself as one of Austin's most prolific fundraisers. The implication is clear: big data needs supple analytics, and supple analytics needs heavy security.
What they do: Caringo Swarm, a unified data storage solution, makes large data sets available for clients when they're needed, where they're needed.
How it's changing big data: It's not just consumers who have gone mobile. By adapting to changing preferences in devices and behavior, companies like Caringo have become powerful allies for large and small businesses that are increasingly less tied to physical space.
What they do: goTransverse brings the power of big data to the world of big billing. It provides a sleek SaaS solution that automates billing operations and cuts inefficiencies out of revenue streams.
How it's changing big data: As the goTransverse approach takes some of the busywork out of billing, it allows for greater oversight and analysis, showing once again that fintech (a robust scene in Austin) and big data are the peanut butter and chocolate of the startup world. It's not just raising money and saving money, it's establishing a new standard in its space.
What they do: Tableau is one of the world's leaders in data visualization. Although based in Seattle, the data visualization and analysis platform boasts offices on four continents, and is currently staffing up in Austin.
How it's changing big data: Visual communication has always connected those with big ideas and those who want to understand them, and data is at the heart of most big ideas these days. Tableau has been visualizing data since around the time broadband went mainstream and is a powerful mainstay in a booming field.
What they do: XOR Data Exchange helps businesses understand and profit from the data they possess. Its technology allows transparent access to data across industries, and it brings together talent with a wide variety of skills and backgrounds, making it one of Austin's most interesting big data companies.
How it's changing big data: In 2016, XOR brought on Ralph Logan as its chief security officer, bolstering its authority as an infosec leader, while adding to its already substantial credibility the big data space. That was less than a year after raising more money than it asked for in the middle of a flood.
What they do: RenewData uses language-based analytics and other tools to help firms, particularly in the legal sector, manage regulatory and investigative projects with less hassle and guesswork.
How it's changing big data: Founded fifteen years ago, this digital discovery company has protected firms in their most vulnerable moments, and has been building a unique model for success since before big data became a buzzword.
What they do: Granify automatically maximizes revenue for online retailers by identifying shoppers that aren’t going to buy and changing their mind — before they leave the site — by harnessing the power of real-time big data and machine learning.
How it's changing big data: The team at Granify is changing the way people shop in 19 countries by reducing shopping cart abandonment through analyzing buyer behavior. While the shopper browses, Granify sends out messages and alerts, encouraging customers to finish their purchase
What they do: JP3's tools measure and analyze liquids and gasses in energy company pipelines without filters or samples. Its approach is leaps and bounds more efficient and informative than what came before it.
How it's changing big data: There is power in specificity and specialization. By significantly improving one small part of energy companies' processes, JP3 has made itself influential in both big data and clean tech.
What they do: Clarify's mission is "to improve human communication." Specifically, it analyzes audio and video content, making it easier to find, use, and understand.
How it's changing big data: The internet began with text, which was fairly easy to search for and analyze. Now, the world is quickly shifting to audio and video experiences, which aren't governed by the same rules and algorithms. Like Google in its infancy, Clarify is setting itself up for success and influence by making sense of an ongoing flood of information, surfing a new and different wave with style and efficiency.
What they do: What Mint does for consumers, PayBook does for companies that do business with banks based in Mexico. Its sturdy and powerful RESTful API integrates existing systems with banks, credit providers, and Mexico's tax authority.
How it's changing big data: Having built an efficient system to keep financial information flowing to and from Mexico, PayBook now plans similar endeavors focused on finance across other borders.
What they do: GroupBy is an e-commerce search platform for retail companies. Their solutions take the complexities out of online retail sites, making products easier to find, increasing conversions and giving real-time performance insights.
How it's changing big data: GroupBy is used and trusted by a myriad of big names in the retail and e-commerce space including Lancome, Crate & Barrel, CVS Pharmacy, Pier 1 Imports and Urban Outfitters.
What they do: PotentiaMetrics is another Austin big data firm focused on healthcare, with particular interest in fitness and sports. Its key products are the Andromeda Integration Engine, the Polaris Analytics Engine, and the Outcomes Data Cloud.
How it's changing big data: By translating data into action plans, PotentiaMetrics enables its users to rewrite the playbooks for their industries and to make medicine more personal.
What they do: HUVR uses drones to inspect industrial assets and large agricultural properties, helping clients make sense of what they find.
How it's changing big data: Agriculture and energy companies need a steady stream of information on their land, buildings, and other large assets. HUVR has built a particularly photogenic system for gathering it, which has helped it gather funding and attention from well beyond the sectors it serves.
What they do: Clearhead sets their sites on offering digital optimization programs, data driven redesigns and optimization accelerators.
How it’s changing big data: Clearhead is solving the problem of mobilizing people and behavior towards better data solutions, and is used by such big names including Keurig, Patagonia, Whole Foods and Adidas.
What they do: Open Lending is another Austin company that operates in both big data and high finance. It provides risk modeling and automated decision software to banks and other lenders, helping the loan business improve its precision and transparency.
How it's changing big data: By protecting lenders, Open Lending empowers qualified borrowers and helps keep the economy stable. Investors have shown it some love in return, and the company recently pulled down a whopping $40M funding round.