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The Next Phase of AI Startups Aim to Make Sense of All That Data

February 24, 2017, 9:38 PM UTC
Illustration by Michael George Haddad for Fortune, an artificial intelligence startup created by Flurry co-founder Sean Byrnes, has raised $2.2 million from Susa Ventures, Homebrew and First Round Capital.

Alongside co-founder Mike Kim, Byrnes started the company because, in the ten years he worked on Flurry (before selling it to Yahoo for a reported $240 million in 2014), he heard a common complaint about “big data” from customers: What does it all mean?

“Today every part of your business is a fountain of data and it has gotten so bad that the companies don’t know what to look for,” Byrnes says. This idea might sound familiar to Fortune readers. Last week, the founders of Fika Ventures gave me a nearly identical quote. That’s no accident. Eva Ho of Fika is an investor in Outlier via her prior firm, Susa Ventures.

Outlier’s software, which integrates across all of a company’s various tools (ZenDesk, Adwords, Adobe Analytics, etc), spits out “stories” about the data that allows workers – not just statistics experts – to use it to make decisions. The company’s tools compete with offerings from IBM, Google Analytics and Mixpanel, but has an advantage because those tools do not work across many different systems. “In five years, we will look back at companies that had five dozen dashboards, and it will look as outdated as using a paper map,” Byrnes says.

Based in Oakland, Outlier has been offering its product to six customers in private beta since last year. It opens up to the general public today.

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