Interana promises Facebook-style analytics for everyone

An analytics startup called Interana came out of stealth mode on Tuesday promising to help every company — at least those with a whole lot of data — make data-driven decisions like Facebook does.

The company’s founders have some experience doing that: CTO Bobby Johnson was director of engineering at Facebook from 2006 until 2012 and built the company’s Scribe log-management system and Haystack infrastructure for storing and serving photos. Product leader Lior Abraham built Facebook’s SCUBA, a data-analysis system originally used by engineers to analyze server performance but now used by a majority of people in the company.

Although Interana learned from Facebook in terms of what it means to build fast, scalable data infrastructure and tools that are usable even by non-experts, Interana doesn’t use any Facebook technology, Johnson said. The company built its whole infrastructure, from the compressed columnar storage engine up to the user interface that’s designed to bring even businesspeople into the analytics fold.

“We’re targeting people who are analytical and care about numbers but aren’t necessarily technical,” Johnson said.

A screenshot of the funnel analysis in Interana.

A screenshot of the funnel analysis in Interana.

The product also isn’t necessarily for everyone, said Co-founder and CEO Ann Johnson (pictured above). She and Bobby Johnson are married. Rather, Interana is enterprise software “meant for very, very large datasets” that would be infeasible to run in a cloud service. It’s focused on event data — server logs, clickstreams, sensor readings, transactions — ideally that customers want to analyze over time. She pointed to its built-in support for grouping customers based on behavior over time, or flexible funnel models for determining likely paths from signup to sale, for example.

If a company has what she calls “enormous-scale data,” Ann Johnson said Interana can open up years worth of data for analysis without sampling or aggregation. “Anybody can build an in-memory, columnar type of database that looks at two weeks worth of data,” she said.

Early Interana customers include Sony, Jive, Asana, Tinder and Orange Silicon Valley. The company has raised $8.2 million in venture capital from Battery Ventures, Data Collective, SV Angel, Fuel Capital and YCombinator.