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Big Data: Venture Funds Flow into Analytics Startups

By Dick Weisinger

With the big hype around Big-Data-related technologies continues, it is not surprising that venture capital money is flowing into the technology at a feverish pace.

In 2011, Thomson Reuters estimates that US venture companies invested a total of $2.47 billion into new big data, database and data processing technologies.  That’s up from $1.53 billion in 201 and $1.1 billion in 2009.  Total venture capital investments in 2011 were $28.43 billion and $23.26 billion in 2010.  During the tail end of 2011, venture funding for Hadoop and No SQL technologies, key elements of many Big Data solutions, shoot up by more than 266 percent.  Companies like Opera Solutions, Cloudera, 10gen and MapR Technologies were big recipients.  Mu Sigma, a big data analytics consulting company, received more than $133 million in VC monies alone.

Big Data analytic techniques are being applied to just about every sector, including retail, healthcare and social media.  Consider the 100 petabytes of photos and videos managed by Facebook.  They’ve needed to build specialized algorithms and functions for searching, retrieving and managing their data.  Jim Smith of Mohr Davidow Ventures said that “Social media is not monetizable without big data.  It would be impossible to target ads precisely without it.”  And while Facebook may lie at one end of the spectrum in terms of the volume of data being managed by a single organization, companies ranging from Walmart to Microsoft, to big insurers and financial institutions — they’re all coming to grips with massive amounts of data.  Ping Li of Accel Partners said that “Data now comes from all directions and this massive amount doesn’t necessarily fit nicely in an Oracle database.”

David Smith, vice president at Revolution Analytics, wrote for GigaOm that “The explosion of ‘big data’–much of it in complex and unstructured formats–has presented companies with a tremendous opportunity to leverage their data for better business insights through analytics.”

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