The biggest trend this century has seen is the growth of big data analytics—analysis of a multitude of highly voluminous, rapid data, producing high-quality insights into practically anything in short periods of time. These insights are valuable to companies across industries because of their real-time nature reflecting changes in a specific market, government regulation, and pieces of legislation that can either make or break a company’s bottom line.
More to the point, big data analytics focuses on formulating insights around pain points in any industry in days to weeks, rather than years to decades, through the analysis of data of all types—structured (like text in a Word document), semi-structured (like an Excel document), or unstructured (like pictures or radar) data.
More than ever, companies of all sizes are looking for greater and more reliable information to use to undergird their cashflows and execute on their goals. A $122 billion market as of 2015, investment in big data companies by venture capitalists alone last year reached $6.64 billion, indicating that the strength and application of these technologies are immense, and that big data isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It also suggests that startups are the leaders of innovation in this area, which is a trend that we will continue to see in 2017.
Massive recent investments in technologies that big data powers shows that companies will only continue to adopt big data technologies as time goes on. Yet, despite this, since the beginning of this trend, large companies have found it difficult to integrate such advanced technologies into their often clunky systems. And, while some engineering labs are excelling in this area, it’s mainly big data startups that are driving the majority of the innovation. Unsurprisingly, New York City is a haven for these types of entrepreneurs, and the fact that VC investment in big data trumps investment by everyone else is telling.
NYC-based CB Insights, the leading venture capital database backed by the National Science Foundation, wades through all things financial data from the web and makes it accessible to venture capitalists, private equity professionals, entrepreneurs, corporate strategists, and beyond. With companies like Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, and FactSet taking up most of the market share in the data analytics space, though, it’s easy to expect CB Insights to be having a hard time delivering valuable solutions that finance professionals don’t already have access to. However, that’s not the case.
CB Insights’ Anand Sanwal and Jon Sherry have a different way of going about things. Instead of just delivering real-time analytics, CB Insights has created a blue ocean by delivering predictive analytics on imminent technology trends, allowing VC firms and investment banks and funds to stay on top of trends to make targeted investment decisions based on predictive information. Since its inception, CB Insights has racked up $10 million just in its Series A round, allowing it to expand while steadily increasing its product offerings to circumvent otherwise stifling competition.
Where CB Insights is focused on data insights, Beta NYC is focused on community empowerment by providing data science, civic tech, and open data for the NYC tech community. As the tech scene in NYC continues to grow beyond the already impressive size it is now, the demand for data from companies like Beta NYC will become more and more valuable.
At an increasing rate, entrepreneurs are incorporating social good into their missions. Consumers have been shown to favor companies that try to do good in the world, and Beta NYC has capitalized on that trend to bring together data companies that empower local communities. The future is bright for companies that incorporate social change in their business, and Beta NYC will be growing along with them.
Some companies, while not currently headquartered in New York City, do business here that affects everyone, and NYC-based companies are taking notice of not only the companies themselves, but the value they can add. Washington, D.C.-based Quorum, a government data analytics platform, has quantified the relationships between elected officials on every level—local, state, and federal—and builds software based on those data analytics to enable anyone to influence the legislative process with powerful tracking, targeting, and outreach tools.
Users can track legislation and dialogue in Washington D.C., as well as in all 50 states, leverage quantitative analytics to identify potential champions, and easily contact legislators and their staff. They recently unveiled Quorum Grassroots, a suite of grassroots advocacy tools that help organizations to identify their most active supporters, educate advocates on the issues that matter most, and provide them opportunities to take action by easily writing, calling, or tweeting their legislator from any device.
Quorum has several clients in New York City who use these tools to track legislation, identify champions, and empower advocates to take action. One such client, All In Together, uses Quorum to track federal legislation and to organize grassroots actions among female leaders. Any advocate can sign into All In Together’s Action Center to learn about specific policy issues and then take action, supporting All In Together’s vision to see more women engaged in politics.
Altogether, Quorum’s mission is to make it easier for anyone to influence the legislative process. As innovators in the government technology space, Quorum continues to gather new data and build additional tools to help both professionals and everyday citizens understand what is going on in legislative bodies across the country, and become more effective at influencing policy.
Stay posted as we dive deeper on some of these companies in the coming weeks!