A la mode

Data-centric GitHub-alike site in business with $2m injection

Lucy Carey

Data analytics hub Mode opens beta version of service for info crunching masses to share work and build a rep for themselves.


When Mode - a
startup that bills itself as the
for data analysis”
initially launched last
year, it faced a healthy dose of scepticism. In spite of all the
hype over data science and the increasing capacity of real-time
analytics tech to make the figures really talk, it’s still
questionable whether now is really the most fertile moment to
establish a business that caters exclusively for data-focused

For starters, you’ve got a pretty niche audience
to work with, and with the rise in analytics startups intent on
creating visual interfaces that squeeze out data specialists
altogether, it’s a vulnerable one. Regardless of these factors,
Mode’s team has raised the $2 million in their latest funding round
and set a beta version of their service live.This latest funding
round was led by Formation8, along with a handful of other
investors, including Panorama Point, Goldcrest and, notably, Reddit
founder Alexis Ohanian.

Co-founder and CEO Derek Steer’s big hope for
Mode is that data analysts will be saved from re-inventing the
wheel time and time again by making their work available to

much larger pool of people
. The
site is free for individual devs and data crunchers to use, and
community-wide projects are open to all.

However, whilst they market their site as akin
to the mighty ‘Hub in
theory - for
example, as with GitHub, users can sign up to a paid-for version
that’s walled off from the general public, show off and discover
work (including models, code, datasets, and the like) and generally
build up a rep for themselves – in practice, Mode has some big
differences to the San Francisco startup.

For starters, users can work on data straight
from the browser, and any charts users create are embeddable.
Additionally, ‘Yammer-like’ Mode can be connected to several big
name databases and warehouses, and users can work on data with a
SQL and visualization editor.

It’s this SQL focus that Steer thinks will
ensure Mode is a success and open up the site’s appeal to a diverse
audience. He explains that although the project is focused on
technical people, “SQL’s not actually that technical” adding that,
“Facebook teaches almost every person who walks through the door

To replicate even a sliver of GitHub’s
success, building up users – and
– is going to be key. For Mode to be useful, it’s going to
need to attain a critical mass of data scientists who actively use
the site. Due to the targeted nature of data models, they’ll also
need a huge upload base. Hopefully this latest cash injection
should go some way to bolstering Mode’s reach, and save a sizable
crew of data scientists a lot of valuable time down the line.

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