On the surface, The Hive looks like a conventional Silicon Valley incubator. It provides funding, networking, and advice to early stage startups.
But there’s a hook: it only looks for companies that leverage serious data science technology.
That focused helped The Hive raise $US22 million for its second fund on Thursday, with backing number of Silicon Valley bigwigs, including Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz and Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang.
“We believe that applications of data will really be the next big frontier of the tech industry,” T.M. Ravi, cofounder and Managing Director of The Hive told Business Insider. “There’s going to be radical transformation in the next 5 to 10 years with the use of data.”
Ravi is not alone in this belief.
Tons of companies are springing up that promise to help enterprises make sense of the flood of data from new sources, like the moves that people make as they visit web sites (this data is useful for online advertising), or information collected by millions of tiny sensors (useful for factories or other industrial facilities). The systems to collect, organise, and analyse this data are often lumped under the buzzy term “big data.”
Ravi says although his investment is hyper-focused on data-driven companies, it will span multiple industries from advertising and marketing to security and financial services.
For example, its first company to exit was a commerce-recommendation startup called Kosei, which was acquired by Pinterest in January. Earlier this week, The Hive saw another one of its portfolio companies called E8 Security receive Series A funding of $US9.8 million.
The Hive only invested in 11 companies with its previous fund. With its second fund, Ravi plans to invest in about 10 companies, as well. Each investment will be in the range of $US1.5 million to $US2 million, which is significantly higher than most incubators.
Another interesting angle of The Hive is that it recruits potential entrepreneurs on its own once it finds an interesting idea to invest in. Its in-house team has years of experience and networks in Silicon Valley that makes it relatively easy to find the right candidate at companies like Google and Facebook, Ravi says. “It’s why we also call ourselves a co-creation studio,” he says.
And that means big shot investors like Maritz and Yang also self-select who they want to invest in. Ravi says they’re not just financially involved but very actively engaged with the entrepreneurs.
“What is so compelling about The Hive is that it aligns the portfolio with the interests of founders, advisors, and investors, while directly applying their deep entrepreneurial and business expertise to help entrepreneurs move through company building, business design and go-to-market,” Maritz said in a statement.