INTERVIEW: Derek Steer of Mode Analytics

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mode_logoAs a data scientist, I’m always on the look-out for hot new tools of the trade that will make my life easier. With this interview, I hope to spread the word about an up-coming new service that’s touted as the “GitHub for Data Analysis” – an online repository for data science work.  I recently caught up with Derek Steer, CEO of Mode Analytics, for a run-down on what he’s doing with his new company.

insideAI News: What was your reason for founding Mode Analytics? What hole in the data science arena does it fill?

Derek Steer: Having worked in data analysis our entire careers, my co-founders and I continuously found that we would write scripts, use them, and then store them in a way that basically made them inaccessible in the future. We realized that we were spending a lot of time recreating work that had already been done in order to make incremental improvements. All of the value was in those improvements — the least time-consuming part of the process. When it occurred to us that we could save a lot of time by making previous work easily reusable, we knew we were on to something.

insideAI News: Who is your intended market and what is your business model?

Derek Steer: We’re targeting anyone who write scripts to extract value from data. There are a lot of companies out there making data accessible to anyone through a drag/drop interface. Our model is a little different: we’re making it really easy to write SQL, Python, R, etc. and then distribute it to non-technical people.

Mode will be free for anyone who wants to use it, with the caveat that anything done will be shared with the rest of the Mode community. For anyone who would like to keep their data and analysis private, or who wants to use Mode with their existing on-prem data warehouses, there will be a subscription fee.

insideAI News: Please describe your product’s primary features in a nutshell.

Derek Steer: Most Mode users will likely spend the majority of their time writing and editing scripts, but Mode’s key feature is really search. Mode allows users to search for scripts based on their content — what data they pull from, the types of aggregations or manipulations being performed, etc. The technology that enables this also allows us to automatically surface relevant work to someone as she is building her own script in Mode, which is tremendously valuable in situations where someone is working with new data and wouldn’t even know what to search for.

insideAI News: What stage are you in right now and when will MODE be available to the data science community?

Derek Steer: The company is about 2 months old. We expect to have beta users on the platform in Q4, with a broad release in Q1.

insideAI News: How is Mode Analytics funded?

Derek Steer: $550k seed round led by David Sacks (Paypal Mafia, Yammer founder/CEO), with participation from several Yammer executives.


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