Next-generation BI startup ClearStory raises $21M

ClearStory Data, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup working on a new type of data analysis service, has raised a $21 million series B round of venture capital. The company has now raised $31.5 million since its launch in 2011. New investor DAG Ventures led the round, with participation from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, Khosla Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

ClearStory’s approach to business intelligence stands out because the company’s cloud-based service enables a variety of unique features. Among them, it lets users analyze multiple data sources simultaneously and “harmonizes” them to let them work better together. It scores datasets to suggest additional sources that might complement the others being analyzed. ClearStory also offers a variety of external data sources, some proprietary and some free, that users can access and add to their “stories.”

Because the service is built on top of Apache Spark, it’s able to perform its analyses very quickly. The Spark foundation helped ClearStory to add support for up to 24 data sources at one time while maintaining fast performance. Co-founder and CEO Sharmila Mulligan (pictured above) said it’s very popular among consumer product companies that need to analyze lots of variables in order to maximize merchandising and pricing, and is also picking up steam among pharmaceutical users that stand to lose money with every delay in analyzing drug trial data.


If it seems as if BI companies designed for big data are raising a lot of money really fast, it’s because they are. Recently, Hadoop-centric startup Platfora announced a $38 million series C round of venture capital. Mulligan chalks it up to how much data is now available to analyze and how fast businesses need to act in a world where word spreads fast across social media, mobile apps and the web, generally.

“[A company’s] future is now in the hands of masses of consumers,” she said.

Correction: This post was updated at 9:54 a.m. to correct the number of data sources ClearStory can handle at one time. It is 24 simulataneous sources, not 14.