Looker raises $2M to help more companies simplify business intelligence

Looking to make it easier for more enterprise employees to drill down on sales data with a web-based product, Looker Data Services has raised $2 million from First Round Capital and PivotNorth Capital.

Based in San Francisco and Santa Cruz, Calif., Looker has developed LookML, a proprietary language based on the SQL programming language for relational data, to enable users with little to no development background to make their own custom SQL queries of sales data. Once a customer signs up, Looker’s analysts review the customer’s data and, over a few days, custom-build the tool with options for querying the customer’s various databases in specific ways, said Lloyd Tabb, Looker’s founder and CEO. Once in place, Looker can run on a customer’s on-premise hardware or on hosted servers.

Many companies offer business analytics tools, and they come in different flavors. Oracle, (s orcl) IBM (s ibm) and other legacy IT vendors offer data warehouse appliances, although those can take engineers months to implement, Tabb said. Other BI vendors, including GoodData, Mixpanel and Tableau, can store customer data in the clouds, but those display bigger-picture trends in event data and don’t correlate well with user data, which aren’t in clouds, Tabb said. And then there’s Redshift, Amazon (s amzn) Web Services’ new data warehouse product.

Despite all the competition, Tabb believes Looker has a place in the market. The company, which is emerging from stealth mode about a year after its establishment, has more than 20 customers, including Simply Hired.