Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider
Ping Li, general partner at VC firm Accel Partners, says that big data is so hot, he’s seeing three to five new ideas pitched to him per day.“It’s not just the entrepreneurial activity but the inbounds from the broader industry like reporters, analysts, CTOs, CIOs of enterprises. All are trying to reach out and find out what we are seeing and how they can be part of the big data ecosystem,” he told Business Insider.
Li is on the tip of the big data phenom, which is literally changing the Web and what it’s possible to do with software and will change our work lives forever.
While Li wouldn’t go so far as to say that big data will produce a crop of Google-sized companies, he does think it will create a crop of “break out stand alone sizable companies,” perhaps of the billion-dollar valuations.
“What’s interesting about big data is that its going to be a formidable investment area for many years to come. It’s not like in 18-24 months I’ll say hey, the big data wave is over,” he explains. “We’re in the second inning of the big data cycle. Not too many sectors you can point to where you can say there’s that kind of durable set of innovation.”
He’s put his money where his vision is. In November Accel announced a $100 million fund dedicated to big data startups. Last month, Code42 grabbed a hefty $52 million round, which Accel lead, with Accel’s portion coming from the big data fund.
Li says the startups getting funded today fall into three buckets:
- Plumbing or data platforms, like Hadoop startups, which build next-generation SQL databases. These companies are engineering “The building blocks for harnessing the power of high volume and unstructured data generated every day.”
- Enterprise apps that sit on the plumbing. These are the future of business intelligence. This is similar to how Oracle created its ecosystem of apps that sat on top of its database technologies when it bought CRM and ERP companies like Siebel and PeopleSoft. For the enterprise, that’s going to happen in the big data world, Li predicts.
- Data driven apps. These are using data that’s out there to generate a new service. These could be for consumers or the enterprise. For instance, Accel funded a company called Lookout Mobile Security which secures mobile devices by scanning millions of applications and finding threats before they land on your phone or tablet.
Photo: Accel Partners
Within these buckets will also fall niche apps that serve vertical markets, such as tools to mine electronic healthcare records, or that service oil and gas, science, financial services.Big data has had an unintended effect of making enterprise technologies more exciting again, says Li. After years of focus on consumers with social media and apps and gaming, “The shift to the enterprise is something we’re excited about. It’s more of a balance we’re seeing,” he says.
Big data startups are tackling tough issues like CRM and security but they are doing it with an eye to a consumer experience.
“Enterprises are consumers at end of day. They are used to a certain experience at home. I get realtime updates on Facebook. How come at the office, I have no idea what people are doing unless I ask them?”
With big data services, that will change. It is helping companies “rethink how enterprise environment based on consumer trends.”
This will greatly change our workplace in the years to come. Imagine tools that sift through your various inboxes, find your leads, organise your appoints and tell you who to call. Or ones that find new business initiatives for you by analysing your accounts.
NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.