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DataBlade co-founders Jeremy Brudvik and Allen Chen.
DataBlade co-founders Jeremy Brudvik and Allen Chen.

Data can come in all shapes and sizes, from various sources and software. Taking all that information and gleaning actionable insight can be difficult for many companies, but one new Seattle startup wants to help.

Founded this year, DataBlade bills itself as an end-to-end platform analyzing data in the cloud.

“We provide companies a centralized place to configure and connect all their disparate data sources, an in-browser workbench for analysts and data scientists to query data and do analysis, and simple tools for automating and scheduling their work,” explained co-founder and CEO Allen Chen.

Chen met his co-founder Jeremy Brudvik a decade ago at the University of Washington when the two were studying computer science. He went on to work for Amazon and then founded a startup called CloudPress, which was acquired by News Corp.

Brudvik, who worked at Intel after earning a masters degree from Georgia Tech, reunited with Chen at News Corp and the pair eventually decided to leave and start DataBlade.

DataBlade CEO Allen Chen.
DataBlade CEO Allen Chen.

Chen explained that for most companies, data analysis workflows are being “eaten up by operational tasks like trying to glue together multiple data sources with incompatible data formats and using cumbersome tools like Cron to try to schedule jobs.”

“Our vision is to provide a platform that alleviates the need to worry about all those mundane tasks so that analysts can focus on only what’s important: generating new insights for their business,” he noted.

Allen and Brudvik are working in Techstars Seattle’s current cohort. We caught up with him for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “We build tools to help businesses make better decisions through the power of their data.”


Inspiration hit us when: “We got first-hand experience with how broken and inefficient the data analysis workflow is within large organizations.”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “We’d love to be able to bootstrap, but the nature of the enterprise software business and the speed at which the data industry is growing demands that we move extra fast. Therefore, VCs and angels are a better fit for us because it’ll allow us to scale up more quickly, especially when it comes to hiring talent.”

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “The strength of our team and the depth of our combined experiences in making really incredible products. We’ve spent years building tools for developers and are ready to apply that knowledge to a new, rapidly growing problem space: Data analysis.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Spending tons of time talking to customers before we ever wrote a single line of code.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Initially not being explicit enough about our division of responsibilities. When you have a small team, you have to be very protective of your time. Early on, it may seem important to send all the founders to every meeting, but you’ll ultimately be better off dividing and conquering.”

Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Bezos for daring to be bold and never being afraid to be wrong. That way, when he is right, he is so incredibly right.”

Our favorite team-building activity is: “Riding bikes and watching NBA.”

The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: “People who are passionate about our mission and share the same core values as us (ownership, empathy, experimentation, growth, and wellness).”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Don’t fall into the pit of just trying to come up with startup ‘ideas.’ So often, they are actually just solutions that’ll require you to work backwards to find a problem to match. Start by identifying a problem, then explore what the possible solutions might be. You’ll find that these will be your strongest startup ideas.”

Editor’s note: GeekWire is featuring each of the 11 startups participating in the Techstars Seattle incubator in the lead up to the Demo Day pitch event on Oct. 27. Techstars applications for its next class are now open.

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