Israeli Start-up Makes Big Data Bite-sized

Companies can drown in the volume of data they have to manage these days. SiSense helps them stay afloat and make sense of it all.

Inbal Orpaz
Inbal Orpaz
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Inbal Orpaz
Inbal Orpaz

It's been said that 90 percent of the data on earth was created in the past two years. From Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and Wikipedia (not to mention Instagram), the sheer volume of data grows exponentially, posing new challenges to decision-makers and organizations.

SiSense, an Israeli start-up founded in 2004, is helping companies manage and make sense of this "big data." Over the past year, big data has gone from being a buzzword and a mere technological prediction to one of a business’s main requirements. Now the tech world is working intensively to develop new tools to process this huge amount of data, make it usable and draw rapid conclusions simply and intuitively. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, SiSense has seen triple-digit growth rates over the past several years.

“Decision-makers in a company have to make decisions based on information and not on intuition," says Elad Israeli, a co-founder, former CEO and current CPO of SiSense. He points out that organizational information is buried in all sorts of places, from spreadsheets on the computer to databases running behind the scenes of high-traffic websites. SiSense, therefore, "allows an organization to connect to all its sources of information," which in turn helps those less technically-inclined folks understand all the data in their possession. SiSense analyzes a company's data so, for example, marketers can determine why traffic to a site has declined and managers can understand why sales have dropped.

Among SiSense’s clients are big names like Target, Caterpillar Inc., Cisco Systems, Philips Global, the pharmaceuticals company Merck and ESPN. It also caters to smaller companies that deal with large amounts of information.

“The desire to work with information and the complexity of the information has nothing to do with the organization’s size,” Israeli says.

Installing the system simply requires downloading the software, available for a two-week free trial. SiSense’s system has two main advantages, according to Israeli: it costs about 10 percent of competitors’ prices, and the time required for integration into the system is short – only a few days.

The system, which does not require a complicated computerized infrastructure, can be run on ordinary computers. The cost of use varies according to the number of users and the amount of information in the organization. For example, Israeli says that SiSense can offer solutions at an annual cost of $30,000, compared with an alternative that can cost as much as $500,000.

SiSense was founded by Israeli and his fellow entrepreneurs Eldad Farkash (the current CTO), Guy Boyangu (main product architect), Aviad Harell (support services and product manager) and Adi Azaria (business development manager).

Until 2010, the company worked in stealth mode and did not publicize its product. “When we went on the market in 2010, the response was amazing,” says Israeli. “Within two years, we had 400 clients in 48 countries.” SiSense is expected to finish out 2012 with sales in the millions of dollars. In 2011, the company grew 350 percent, and the rate for this year is expected to be similar.

So far, SiSense has raised $10 million. Its main investors are the venture-capital firms Opus Capital and Genesis Partners. SiSense has 31 employees, most located in offices at the Tel Aviv Port. The rest are in Silicon Valley, in an office located across from the competitor, Oracle.

File sorting in the old days (above). With the growing volume of big data online, companies need a way to manage their digital files. The Israeli start-up SiSense helps them do just that.Credit: Michal Fattal



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