“Our story is very simple. I’ll tell you in one line, four friends bitten by the ‘infamous’ entrepreneurial bug. That’s how it started,” begins Yatish Gupta, co-founder of Pune-based data analytics startup, GeekTree.
Mukundan NC, Varun Aggarwal, and Yatish, all came with the experience of working with corporations, where they built tech products from scratch for enterprise companies, like true geeks. In 2014, they were joined by Prasanna Deshpande and that’s when their endeavour to start something in data began.
Having faced some real issues in data visualisation while working for MNCs, the geeks saw it as a real problem and, subsequently, an opportunity to work on. The idea was simple: to solve the problem of accessing and analysing business data with a simple Google-like search interface. With companies facing a resource crunch, optimisation is a key metric for their success – and optimisation comes through analytics.
Launched in April 2015, GeekTree works in the field of descriptive analytics – it analyses the incoming data, such as sales records, marketing patterns, growth metrics of the company among other things, and creates dashboards for an easier visualisation of the trends. After all, real-time graphics are worth a thousand words.
Making Data Accessible To All, The GeekTree Way
Imagine being in a board meeting with ‘n’ number of excel sheets and data sets. Everyone has their own metrics and parameters when they present their data. It is bound to create chaos and not everyone understands data and its management. Problems happen when everyone walks into a meeting with their own set of spreadsheets and data which could lead to repeated cycles of meetings, delay in decisions and, in the end, the focus shifts from the actual business problem to the issue of data management.
GeekTree was started with an idea of creating a central repository of a company’s data from various sources. The sources would include Excel/CSV, relational and non-SQL databases like Salesforce, Zoho, Freshdesk etc. What it further enables is the utter simplification of data, where companies using GeekTree’s proprietary software Avyuh can input commands in simple everyday language, communicate with the software, ask questions and create reports as well.
Machine learning-enabled Avyuh is a search-driven, self-service analytics tool. i.e. you can direct questions to your data in the form of everyday communication. For e.g., if one is using the software and enters a question like “Give me the sales data for the last 2 months,” this search query acts as a filter for the company’s data and Avyuh will immediately enable the user to view the sales data for the requested time period, in a graphical form.
As part of processing, it can derive relationships between columns, can suggest correlations across multiple data sources if needed. For example, if you have the employee information in your SQL database and sales information in SalesForce, you can import from both the sources, and Avyuh would be able to correlate sales metrics from SalesForce and the employee ID from SQL table.
The company’s solutions enable users to use everyday commands to instruct machines while empowering machines or software applications to understand and respond back. Furthermore, it also allows users to change comparatives, fields, calculate average and percentage of the desired data sets. Dashboards can be generated out of the collated data for frequent consumption.
Building An Affordable BI Suite
The company’s target audience includes small- to mid-level organisations, the ones that are looking for data optimisation and a central process that smooth out any discrepancies when it comes to managing the company’s varied data sets.
Yatish says, “While proprietary vendors sell BI (Business Intelligence) systems as fragmented products, buying all the pieces may prove to be overly expensive. We built an open source business intelligence platform that offers greater flexibility and scalability than branded options. Our mission is to democratise BI and take it from a few expert users to the operational managers – from frontline executives to the back-office team.”
The startup currently offers two licensing models to its enterprise customers – namely, a one-time payment license with an annual maintenance contract for in-premise deployment and a per user per month subscription model on their cloud-based deployment.
The Beta version of Avyuh was released in September 2015 which, according to the founders, garnered a good response from test users. The alpha version followed, which went live in April 2016. Since then, the company currently has 3 SME customers on board and claims to have generated $150K (INR 1 Cr) as revenue in the first year.
Taking Data Analytics To Its Full Potential
As Yatish reflects on his journey, he reveals that the first milestone was replacing SiSense, the world leader in data visualisation and BI for one of their customers.
“That gave us lot of confidence that what we are building is really solving some pressing problems. We provide end-to-end services (including deployment and consultancy) to achieve this. In the background, it is our proprietary algorithms that understand the data and our flexible and scalable product architecture which helps us to do so in a scalable and cost-effective manner.”
The startup further plans to introduce chatbot integration on its platform and, using that, provide answers related to data in terms of numbers, graphs, and insights. This will enable them to provide white-labelled solutions where businesses want to expose this analytics to their customers over chat. In the long run, they also want to integrate summaries and provide possible solutions when it comes to solving enterprise problems using data. In an attempt to further its reach, it is deploying various strategies to increase its reach and visibility, including social media marketing and sales partnerships pan India.
Beating Competition With End-To-End Fulfilment
The BI space today is crowded with personalisation tools in the field of data analytics. In October 2016, Bengaluru- and US-based data science company Impact Analytics secured $750K in a funding round led by Aarin Capital. There are players like IntelligenceNODE and Indus Insights which claim to provide visualisation solutions for companies to refine data and make decisions better. Mix panel, App Annie, Alexa and a zillion more are fighting it out to be the weapon of choice of the analytics geek.
The startup globally faces competition from SiSense, whose intelligent business tool not only works along the same lines but also provides predictive analytics to further root out any potential problems.
When asked how GeekTree plans to conquer this market, Yatish replies, “The major factors on which we differ from other BI tools are user-friendliness, easy-to-deploy architecture, and a bouquet of business user interfaces to meet the varied reporting and analytical needs of employees at all levels.”
GeekTree claims to be very user-friendly even for a non-tech employee and vouches on its simple interface to hook the user, once they start using Avyuh. As per Yatish, one can onboard GeekTree with just a couple hours of training. Additionally, it further claims to offer pricing modules that are modelled keeping Indian MSMEs in mind. What differentiates GeekTree is its end-to-end solution – right from data collection and maintenance to consultancy about data exploration, dashboards, and reports, specific to the needs of its clients.
With the rise of big data, the BI and analytics space is changing. More and more organisations are realising the power of high-performance analytics. As per a report by Research and Markets, the descriptive analytics market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.2% during the period 2016-2022. Additionally, BI data startups garnered a funding of $2.26 Bn in 2016, as per this Tracxn report.
While different kinds of graphical representations are evolving, understanding the data and summarising it to the exact answer that one is looking for is the real challenge. The key question every data analytics company needs to answer is: “What actionable insight are we looking to provide to the business owner which he, otherwise, would have overlooked or misinterpreted? How will our insights increase the company’s productivity and growth?”
As they say, “First there is God, for everything else there is data.”
If players like GeekTree, Impact Analytics, and Indus Insights, among others, attempt and continue to solve this ever important question, the world of descriptive analytics is theirs for the taking.
[GeekTree is part of Inc42’s 42Fellowship – a year-long fellowship programme for India’s top growing and upcoming startups with the aim to build a close-knit community who can help each other multiply their impact.]