Careers at Platfora
Platfora provides an end-to-end big data analytics platform that aims to enable anyone to access, transform and analyse data without the need for coding. It aims to make retrieving analytics data faster and more efficient for its customers.
Platfora was founded by software and analytics engineer Ben Werther (“Werther”). Following several years working at leading data analytics houses, Werther realised the limitations of current business intelligence models and began developing ideas as to how these processes could be made more efficient. In particular he began identifying significant changes within the industry as a result of a new technology named Hadoop, which allows users to store and process large amounts of data.
While he acknowledged the usefulness of Hadoop he also believed that further development was needed in order to extract real value from the wealth of data it could manage. According to one interview, the idea for Platfora first began to take shape in 2011 while Werther sat with friends John Eshleman and Sri Satish Ambati at a cafe in San Mateo, California. During their meeting he began to sketch an outline of a new system of data management on a napkin. His new idea was predicated on the concept of building a new type of software on top of Hadoop’s existing architecture that would make working with large amounts of data simple for non-technical workers.
Werther went on to seek funding for the project’s development. Since 2011 Platfora has received more than $95 million in investment from 12 investors, including prominent names in finance such as Citi Ventures and HSBC, as well as from the CIA’s investment arm In-Q-Tel.
Benefits at Platfora
Business model of Platfora
Platfora’s products are targeted principally at large enterprises that manage and process significant amounts of raw data or require accurate, easily-understood analytics to be shared both within the organisation and with outside parties. The Company’s software is utilised in particular by firms that employ technical teams, including business analysts, data scientists, C-Suite experts and IT professionals.
Platfora does not target businesses in one particular industry, with its customers coming from a variety of sectors, including companies within the tech, media, travel, retail and banking sectors.
Notable clients include Fortune 500 companies Disney, Cisco, Sears and Citigroup, as well as well-known brands Groupon, Thomson Reuters and Volkswagen.
Platfora’s greatest value proposition is its speed, efficiency and ease of use, providing software products that can be fully utilised following installation using off-the-shelf servers or cloud-based solutions.
The platform allows users to analyse and process large amounts of raw data quickly without having to possess coding experience or technical knowhow, ensures that new data is processed and modelled so that it is accessible to its users in one place, and provides simple tools that enable users to easily share visual representations of data.
Platfora also purports to provide a more cost-effective method of big data analysis than traditional business intelligence offerings, which often require additional data warehouse costs.
Platfora provides server-based software products that run on-premise, whereby it is installed directly on to computers on a customer’s premises, or in the cloud utilising standard general-purpose hardware.
The platform, which runs in tandem with open source software framework Apache Hadoop, can then be accessed directly from any user computer where the software is installed.
Acquiring Platfora products requires direct contact with the Company’s sales team. Once the software platform is up and running, Platfora provides video tutorials and online support.
Platfora also interacts with existing and potential customers through industry events, including 2016 events Hadoop Summit in Dublin, Spark Summit in San Francisco and Cloudera Sessions in Chicago, New York and Cincinnati. It also presents webinars and demonstrations that discuss issues in data analytics via its website.
Platfora develops and maintains data analytics software for a big business audience, designing efficient and cost-effective business intelligence and data discovery solutions.
Its platform allows users to analyse data relating to transactions, customer interactions, and machine data using open source Hadoop framework software as a scalable data store. It has active engineering, sales and support teams.
Platfora’s key partners are companies operating within the big data space. As part of its partner program, Platfora collaborates with value added resellers, data solutions providers, and alliance partners with which it shares tools, resources, co-marketing opportunities and revenue opportunities with a view to developing Hadoop-related data products and services.
On its website Platfora names software companies Pivotal, Cloudera, MAPR and Hortonworks as partners, as well as cloud computing company Amazon Web Services and multinational tech company Cisco.
Platfora’s key resources relate largely to its technology and the maintenance of its software platform. This includes the software itself, the Company’s servers, and its development team. Platfora also uses a proprietary data storage unit that it calls a Lens, which is loaded into the memory on the Company’s servers in order for its platform to function. Platfora currently has one patent application filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office for “Interest-driven Business Intelligence (BI) systems”.
While Platfora is generating revenue, its financial backers remain a key resource with regard to the product’s development. In terms of personnel, Platfora’s sales and marketing team also plays an integral role in reaching consumers.
A significant portion of Platfora’s costs concern technology, including the development of its software and maintenance of its IT infrastructure. This includes the renting of server space. Platfora also incurs significant costs in relation to its personnel, most obviously through the payment of salaries and benefits. Operating a sales team and post-sales support team also represents a substantial cost.
According to recent research, support for high-tech products typically costs between 6% and 9% of total revenue. Fixed costs such as the renting of office space and payment of utilities must also be considered.
Platfora’s revenue is generated through sales of its software products. The Company’s software is available via direct sales representatives, with software subscriptions priced on an annual per server basis. Prices are not disclosed on the Platfora website. According to press reports, Platfora recorded a 210% growth in annual recurring revenue in 2015 and expects to post similar numbers for 2016.
info: Ben is a Stanford University graduate. Prior to founding Platfora, he held a number of product management roles within the information technology sector. He began his career at There Inc in 1999, before moving to Siebel Systems a year later. He left Siebel Systems in 2003, shortly before it was acquired by Oracle, and served briefly as Interim CEO at software startup Varonis Systems. He joined Microsoft in 2004 as Senior Product Manager, but moved into the data analytics space in 2007 in which he has served as Director of Product Management and Vice President of Products at analytics firms Greenplum and DataStax respectively.
info: Jason has served as Platfora’s President and CEO since 2015. Zintak has a successful track record as a general manager of early-stage tech companies, particularly with regard to enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management and digital marketing. Prior to joining Platfora, Zintak served as Chief Sales Officer at software company Responsys, which was acquired by Oracle in 2013. He has also served in senior executive roles at GT Nexus, JDA Software and HCL AXON and as a Global Account Director at SAP America.
info: Kevin is a software engineer, specialising in the construction of database systems. He joined Platfora in 2011 as Principal Architect, in which role he made a number of significant technical contributions to the Company’s software platform. He was promoted to his current role as Chief Technology Officer in 2014. Prior to his time at Platfora, Beyer served for seven years as a research assistant at the University of Wisconsin – of which he is an alumnus – before joining IBM as a research staff member at its Almaden Research Centre, where worked for more than 11 years.
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