Tempo wants to be the database at the center of the Internet of things

Tempo’s Justin DeLay

Once we connect 50 billion devices to the web, as Ericsson’s (s eric) CEO thinks will happen by 2020, what will those devices talk to? Chicago Startup Tempo hopes those sensors will take to its database as a service — depositing their tiny bits of time series data inside its custom database. The company, which was a Structure 2012 Launchpad finalist, has built a specialty database for data that consists of two items, time and a data point.
So perhaps it’s time plus a temperature. Or time plus an indication that a parking spot is full. Regardless, the startup lets customers store billions of data points for as long as they need to and renders it quickly searchable. Traditional MySQL(s orcl) databases can’t keep as much information as some of these sensors can generate — a thermostat that checks temperature four times a minute would generate 5,760 rows of data a day, even if the data is fairly small. Other data stores are more general purpose.
But Justin DeLay the co-founder of Tempo thinks the Internet of Things will need this special-purpose database to serve all the sensors that will be deployed. In most cases the Internet of Things is a cool concept with a variety of startups working on the component side, a few building platforms in specific verticals such as Nest or tech giants hoping to track medical devices, cars or even inventory.
But DeLay, who has raised $750,000 for the company from a variety of angels, says that Tempo has the opportunity to be the hub in the middle of a network of sensors connected to his database by different platforms. If the sensors are the edge of the wheel then platforms from vendors will be the spokes leading back to Tempo.
In his mind, the opportunity is huge. Beyond the smart grid and energy management space he sees manufacturing operations as a logical place where adding sensors and intelligence will help improve efficiency. “We’ve got to get our manufacturing plants online,” he said. And while he’s unsure if the end user will be his actual customer, or if his customer will instead be a platform provider or a systems integrator, DeLay sees an opportunity that could support a huge company. He’d like Tempo to be that business.