It’s make or break time for local tech start-up company VividCortex, which officially opened for business on April 2 at Silicon Valley tech summit DEMO Enterprise, an exclusive annual conference that boasts on its website a “history of launching emerging technologies that disrupt old and define new markets.”
They’re not kidding. On the list of conference alums are well known names in the tech field: TiVO, shopping.com, and E-Trade, to name just a few. VividCortex’s co-founders Kyle Redinger and Baron Schwartz now hope to parlay their own DEMO kick-off into commercial success, but first they have to get themselves into the hands of potential customers.
For the next 30 days, the software-as-a-service firm, which raised $2.7 million in venture capital over the past 18 months and now employs 15 engineers, will offer its cloud-based data management tool to companies for free hoping to convince them that VividCortex can lighten the burden of managing databases that are growing exponentially thanks to the digitization of nearly everything from cars to phones to televisions.
Why do companies want to record all this information?
“It all goes down to the value of that data,” said Redinger, using Google as an example. “If I can better target ads toward you, the user, I create more value,” he said. Smaller companies benefit from data analysis as well, he said, since knowing who’s using their products, and how, allows companies to hone product development and marketing towards their specific customer base.
The quantity of information, however, can quickly overwhelm.
“A few years ago, a database manager was managing one or two databases. Today, it’s five or 10,” Redinger said. “In a few years, it’s hundreds or thousands of databases.”
Currently, Redinger explained, most companies—particularly those that are small to mid-sized—utilize open source database programs like MySQL that are managed by human administrators. The ever-growing data load, Redinger said, leads to an increasingly stressful job for those in charge of keeping them running.
“They’re on call like a doctor, but they’re also responsible for the problem that someone else caused,” he said. “These people are literally on call 24/7, and they’ll have issues at 2am.”
VividCortex won’t eliminate the need for human involvement in database management, he insisted; it’ll just make an increasingly difficult task more manageable.
“It’s not like we’re killing jobs,” he said. “It’s used to empower productivity and to help bridge a gap. Data is growing exponentially, but staff isn’t growing.”
The VividCortex staff, however, is growing, and Redinger said the company hopes to expand from the current 15 engineers and several support staff, split between Charlottesville and Uruguay, to 50 employees in the next year. He and Schwartz are aiming to conduct a third round of funding to help them accomplish that goal, and to establish themselves as leaders in the MySQL market (Schwartz is a MySQL expert and the author of the book High Performance MySQL).
Already, Redinger said, several companies including the Gawker.com website utilize the VividCortex tool, and if all goes as Redinger and Schwartz hope, the list of clients will grow as fast as the databases they need to manage.
“We’re really excited about where we brought the company, from talking about the idea at Mudhouse into a venture funded tech start-up in Charlottesville,” he said.