Sisu

It could all be so simple, but you had to make it hard
—Lauryn Hill, “X-Factor”

Almost every company has more data about their business than ever before, but very few are smarter for it. It turns out that radically more data is also radically more difficult to analyze. While there have been great advances in analyzing big data at a technological level, for anyone that’s not a data scientist, the existing tools have broken down at scale.

A dashboard-based tool that worked brilliantly on a data set with 10 columns becomes nearly useless with 100 columns, let alone 1,000. As a result, the answers we need come so slowly that they are no longer relevant. The people driving the business stop asking questions of the data altogether, and despite the fact that new information arrives everyday, nobody knows nuthin’.

What’s needed is a faster, easier, and more comprehensive way to get the facts about your business. Enter Peter Bailis, a professor at Stanford who studied the supremely difficult problem of analyzing data at massive scale and explaining the “why” behind changes from day to day. At Stanford, he developed new search algorithms that smashed through the scalability challenges posed by the fast-moving, ultra-wide datasets found in modern data warehouses like Snowflake and BigQuery. And he paired those methods with new user experience designs that made the results accessible to non-data scientists. After years of research and deployments with collaborators at Facebook, Microsoft, and Google, Peter started Sisu to bring these diagnostic superpowers to the rest of the world.

When you run a company, your success is determined by your performance on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like revenue, conversion, and engagement. Today’s tools require analysts to spend hours, days, and sometimes weeks manually slicing and dicing data in the hopes of finding something relevant.

Sisu is so simple to use that it feels like magic. With Sisu, you simply tell it your KPIs and then indicate which way you need them to go and Sisu will get you the relevant facts that you need to improve your business, slicing millions of rows and combinations of factors in seconds. Because you define your KPIs once a year but data arrives every day, Sisu will continue to tell you why your KPIs are changing as your data updates.

For example, let’s say you’re Samsung and one of your critical KPIs is the rate customers upgrade their mobile phones from one model to the next. The big question: What drives someone to upgrade to a new handset?

That’s a perfect problem for Sisu—scrutinizing the hundreds of factors for each purchase, from user demographics to product information and marketing data, across tens of millions of customers. If you’re using manual BI tools, this is your worst nightmare: If you spent even one second per factor, checking even 100,000 of these factors would take you over 24 hours non-stop, without time for bathroom or lunch breaks.

But in just a few seconds, Sisu can process this data and show you facts like “urban populations on the nation’s second largest carrier network are 1.3x more likely to upgrade” (even though you haven’t run any campaigns targeting this segment). Furthermore, instead of having to manually run the entire analysis again when you update your marketing strategy, Sisu automatically tells you what’s changed—every day, while constantly getting better by learning what you and your team care most about.

In Finnish, “Sisu” means grit and determination. After a decade of investment in big data systems, ETL tools, and customer data platforms, it’s no longer just Big Tech that has more data than they can deal with. Every employee in almost every industry is becoming an analyst and has massive amounts of data at their disposal to make better decisions. To do so, they need a new set of tools to make their data more accessible and understandable on a daily basis.

That’s why I am excited to announce that Andreessen Horowitz is an investor in Sisu and I am on the board of directors.

 

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