numbersThe best way for a fledgling startup to tip the odds for success in its favor is to make sure that, right out of the gate, the product or service that they offer is one that is keenly desired by the public. For instance, creating a startup that is geared to creating accessories for desktop PCs is asking for trouble, given the platform’s decline over the last few years. You may as well create a startup devoted to horse and buggy maintenance.

On the other hand, there’s certainly a market out there for companies that help clients process and understand big data. If you have the tools and the talent, creating one of these startups could be an excellent way to get your feet wet in today’s world of business.

Just What Is Big Data, Anyway?
The term “big data” is a blanket term used to describe information gathered from all sources, both traditional and modern, that exists in both structured and unstructured forms. This amount of information is so large that it can’t be processed by using traditional software and database techniques. Yet processing this data can provide businesses with a better grasp on today’s world; allowing them to make informed decisions, which can increase the likelihood of success. Unlocking big data’s potential is where this new breed of startup comes in.

How Are Startups Helping?
Picture having someone slam down a massive, 30-pound hardcover book in front of you and announce that it’s full of useful information that will absolutely make your life easier. Oh, and the book is written in Ancient Greek. And you don’t read Ancient Greek. Hell, you don’t read Modern Greek, for that matter. So there you are, with a book that can double as a cinder block, crammed with relevant information, and you can’t make heads or tails out of it.

Big data startups are developing technology and processes that collect, process, manage, and analyze this massive amount of information, in all fields from agriculture to web intelligence. And it’s these startups that help unlock the mysteries of Big Data and put it in terms that you can actually derive benefit from.

What Kind Of Startups?
The sheer range of big data startups is impressive, since there seems to be no limits to the applications of big data. For instance, Cambridge Intelligence, a UK-based startup, specializes in visualization software that helps organizations find patterns within data, just the thing for financial institutions that battle fraud, or the military for hunting down terrorist activity.

A company called Paxata has created a cloud-based Adaptive Data Preparation Platform, which helps companies collect raw data and get it ready for analysis, and features statistical pattern recognition and text analytics.

MySmartFarm, a South African-based big data startup, is focused on the agriculture industry. It has been working on a cloud platform that brings together high-tech agricultural big data solutions for farmers. MySmartFarm plans to provide a visual dashboard with relevant information and big data analytics needed to advise farmers on time and money saving strategies. MySmartFarm will mine agricultural data and send real-time messages to the farmer while the latter is actually on the land, working.

It’s A New World Out There
Just in that last example alone, we can see how the traditional way of doing things is undergoing a change as more data and technology become available. It will be exciting to see the impact these big data startups, and more like them, have on our world in the years to come.


John Terra has been a freelance writer since 1985. He’s worked at three different startups.