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Data analytics start-up Hadapt raises $9.5 million; plans move from New Haven to Cambridge

Posted by Scott Kirsner  October 21, 2011 12:37 PM

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Need to find a needle in a haystack — or a crucial piece of business information that could be sitting in any one of a hundred different far-flung databases? That's the challenge that the rapidly-growing "big data" sector tries to address.

A Connecticut start-up, Hadapt, plans to announce next week that it has raised $9.5 million from Bessemer Venture Partners and Norwest Venture Partners to bring to market its own needle-finding software. The 15-person company, hatched from Yale's computer science department, is also moving its headquarters from New Haven to Cambridge, hoping to tap into the area's deeper talent pool.

Hadapt is creating proprietary software that is designed to augment the Apache Hadoop open source platform that many companies use to manage databases that run across many different servers; Hadoop was originally inspired by software developed at Google to handle its vast index of Web pages, which is spread across lots of computing clusters.

"We're applying the same Hadoop open source technology that eBay and Google and Twitter use to handle their data, in a way that can benefit the rest of the IT market," says chief executive Justin Borgman, an Acton native who put his MBA studies on pause to start Hadapt with Yale prof Daniel Abadi.

Borgman says Hadapt enables users to search both structured data (like the record of a stock trade, which might include fields for time, price, and ticker symbol) and unstructured data (the text of a Facebook status update, for instance.) It can tie into business intelligence tools sold by companies like MicroStrategy and Tableau. And it gives users a SQL interface for conducting their queries, already familiar to many businesspeople. Borgman also boasts that Hadapt's software can improve query speed by 10 to 15 times over standard Hadoop implementations.

"Being able to work with a mix of structured and unstructured data addresses a big pain point," Borgman says. "You might have a list of part numbers in a structured database, and comments about their performance in an unstructured form, and we would help you correlate part #354 with a heat problem, where someone has reported that it tends to break at high temperatures."

Hadapt was founded in July 2010, and raised an angel round of $1 million in January. Borgman says Hadapt will shack up in Bessemer Venture Partners' Cambridge office while searching for space of its own.

"We're still in our product development and beta testing period," Borgman says, adding that they hope to start selling to customers before the end of the year. The company is looking to hire software developers and sales engineers.

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About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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