This year we picked five startups commercializing open source projects to which they contribute that are especially strong going into 2012. The list is in no particular order.
Revolution Analytics sells a suite of commercial tools for working with the open source statistical programming language R. R is becoming the language of choice among data scientists, and Revolution is helping it become more mainstream.
While R has hit it big in academic and data hacking circles, there’s a lot of room for growth in the enterprise where Revolution is taking on entrenched competitors like IBM SPSS and SAS. And to do that, Revolution has the help of SPSS co-creator Norman H. Nie, who joined the company in 2009. Oracle announced at Oracle OpenWorld a new product called Oracle R Enterprise, which integrates R into its product line. That was a big validation for the nascent programming language.
This was a busy year for Revolution. The company released Revolution R 5.0, which included Hadoop integration, allowing users to create map/reduce jobs using R. Also in 2011, Revolution added the ability to import data files from both SAS and SPSS, announced partnerships with IBM Netezza and Cloudera, and added a new predictive analytics algorithm.
Revolution has already landed a few big name customers, including Bank of America and Pfizer. Also, the open source nature R and Revolution’s liberal licensing enable data-as-a-service applications that the licensing agreements of some of Revolution’s competitors prohibit. This means companies can build new types of services based on their own data sets and Revolution’s algorithms.
Revolution has received $17.6 million in funding from Intel Capital and North Bridge Venture Partners, according to Crunchbase.