Data, data everywhere, but where to focus your attention in order to understand what’s changing in your business day-to-day? Data analysts and data scientists will be part of every team at every type of company. And their jobs will be to help answer key business questions using data. That’s the future of business that Outlier sees and we happen to agree wholeheartedly. Which is why we’re so excited to add to our portfolio of machine learning and artificial intelligence-driven vertical applications by co-leading, with First Round Capital, the seed financing for Outlier.
WHO: Sean Byrnes, CEO, and Mike Kim, CTO, are data nerds in the best sense. As founder of Flurry, Sean helped build one of the earliest mobile analytics platforms and filled several roles at the company prior to a successful sale to Yahoo for $240 million. Mike is a long-time data research scientist, having proven his chops at Aardvark, Google and AltSchool. And in a short period of time they’ve assembled a team of technology and business experts that is proud to call Oakland home. We know that we’re backing a team that can talk the big data talk but also back it up with real computer science.
WHAT: Outlier has created a SaaS product that delivers what the company calls Business Analysis Automation. Outlier frees business analysts and executives from spending time combing through their data looking for what matters. Instead, with Outlier, team members get insights that uncover unexpected behavior about customers and products so that potential problems and opportunities can be addressed quickly. And data analysts and data scientists can focus on answering the questions that are most important. Dashboards and KPIs tell you what is happening in your business based on what you know you want to track. Outlier goes further by helping you understand why your business is changing and flagging things you wouldn’t otherwise notice. As an example, Outlier has been able to help an ecommerce business discover that a third party Facebook campaign was responsible for a traffic spike and that a small homepage code change led to a decrease in traffic to product detail pages. Being alerted to those issues helped the company grow revenue and avoid lost revenue in ways which dashboards and KPIs could never do.
HOW: While machine learning and AI are all the rage now, we’ve been investing in the area for more than two years, focusing on specific applications that help give business users superpowers, not just automate workflow like the first generation of SaaS. And importantly, we’ve invested in teams that have the deep experience and technical expertise to truly deliver on the promise of ML and AI. Outlier is no exception to those principles. Outlier’s product plugs into all of the enterprise applications that collect and aggregate customer data. It then uses its technology to identify the unexpected so that business users are never caught by surprise.
WHY: Outlier is the result of Sean’s prior experience building Flurry. Flurry helped collected user data for mobile applications. The data was so voluminous that he often heard his customers ask for help sifting through and interpreting the data. Hence the genesis of Outlier. Like Sean and Mike, we’re convinced that the next-generation of SaaS tools will help people be both more productive AND smarter.
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