Todd Mostak couldn’t have predicted that his time in Cairo as an Arabic-English translator or as a student of Middle East studies at Harvard University would eventually lead him to a startup.
But as he was working on his thesis about social media in the Arab Spring, he realized there were no databases or visualization tools fast enough to do the kind of analysis he needed. So he decided to make his own while taking a class at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The result of his path was the GPU-powered database and analytics suite that is now known as MapD Technologies Inc. The startup, founded in 2013, recently closed $10 million in Series A funding led by Vanedge Capital, which had participation from Verizon Ventures,Nvidia Corporation and GV, formerly Google Ventures.
Mr. Mostak declined to disclose the company’s valuation but said it has raised $12 million to date.
Many data tools today are powered by CPUs, or central processing units. MapD is instead powered by graphics cards, known as GPUs. CPUs only consist of a few cores optimized for sequential serial processing, but GPUs have thousands of smaller, more efficient cores that can handle many tasks simultaneously.
MapD uses these chips to power SQL queries. The tool has a wide variety of applications for large sets of enterprise data. It has been used for social media analytics at companies such as Facebook, business intelligence at companies the likes of Verizon and recently has even been used by government agencies.
Though the buzzword “big data” is often used to describe his startup, Mr. Mostak thinks the company falls into an emerging category. He said the company deals with tens of gigabytes to tens of terabytes of working data.
“Its allows you to be very interactive with it,” Mr. Mostak said. “I would say we’re ‘fast data.’”
The company offers two products, a database and a visualization platform.
MapD has about 20 employees, and it recently took its product to market. The company has seven clients, and Mr. Mostak said the recent funding will be used toward hiring and sales.
Read more about how innovation in GPUs is making MapD even faster on Dow Jones VentureWire.
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