In 2012, Luc Burgelman and Frank Hamerlinck were working at Belgian business intelligence firm Porthus when they had an idea. Porthus, which would later be acquired by Descartes Systems Group, was already handling large volumes of cloud-based data. Burgelman and Hamerlinck, together with Steven Noels, saw a chance to create a new solution that could handle much larger volumes. The three took on Jurgen Ingels, a financial services expert, and founded NGDATA out of the city of Ghent. The four set about work developing a solution that could analyze and structure that big data in a far more efficient way. Eventually, they created Lily.
Lily is a data management platform, which combines planet-sized data storage, indexing, and search with real-time usage tracking, audience analytics and content recommendations. It builds upon Hadoop, HBase, and SOLR to create an open source solution bringing big data storage to enterprise. Big data, says Burgelman, is still in its adoption phase. “A lot of enterprise-sized companies are still just making their first steps into the big data realm,” he says. “We’re at the point where most people recognize the importance of big data and how it can improve customer experiences and optimize the expansion of their product portfolio, but most companies don’t yet have the tools to analyze, manage, and act upon this information.”
“‘Big Data’ originally emerged as a term to describe datasets whose size is beyond the ability of traditional databases to capture, store, manage, and analyze,” reports RnR Market Research. “However, the scope of the term has significantly expanded over the years. Big Data not only refers to the data itself, but also a set of technologies that capture, store, manage and analyze large and variable collections of data to solve complex problems.”
But with a market WhaTech caps at around $30 billion this year and predicts will grow at a CAGR of 17% for the next four leading to 2020, NGDATA were unlikely to struggle for investment. The company secured a $3.3 million funding round last September led by Leuven, Belgium-based Capricorn Venture Partners. It brought the total cash raised by the firm to $5.8 million, after a $2.5 million round in October 2012. The September 2013 round brought the company three members to its board: Oak Hill Capital Partners’ William J Pade; Michael Patsalos-Fox, former senior partner at McKinsey and Company; and Capricorn’s own Katrin Geyskens. The move also prompted the arrival of a new, three-member advisory panel that bolstered the wealth of knowledge in NGDATA’s ranks.
NGDATA said it will use the new funding for continued product development on Lily, and also to bolster the business momentum it’s achieved over the past 12 months,” reported TechCrunch. “The startup has expanded its global footprint over the past year, opening multiple offices in the U.S., and entering into a series of strategic partnerships with companies including Clear2Pay and Cloudera. In the latter instance, NGDATA said it has developed “sophisticated indexing capabilities” for Cloudera Search, aka “full-text, interactive search and scalable indexing to Apache Hadoop.”
A good 2013 has already translated to success this term. With a Red Herring Top 100 Europe award under its belt, NGDATA plans to increase its customer base in its key verticals – financial services, telecommunications, and media and publishing – and, says Burgelman, the company will expand its ecosystem “selecting strategic partners and alliances with technology companies and with system integrators. Internally, a primary focus for 2014 is to expand our New York office, particularly as we prepare to raise another round of venture funding in the near future.”
But, Burgelman is already looking beyond the Big Apple. And with the visibility NGDATA has already earned in its first two years, he hopes he can continue to expand the company indefinitely. “I’m sure NGDATA’s relationship with the Red Herring Top 100 Europe event will not end with 2014 – this is truly the type of relationship and business network that keeps giving and lasts a lifetime.”