Looker Data Sciences, with $2 million in seed funding, looking for software talent [Santa Cruz Sentinel, Calif.]
(Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 09--SANTA CRUZ -- From his office in downtown Santa Cruz, serial entrepreneur Lloyd Tabb contends his new software startup in Santa Cruz is what businesses need to make better decisions faster.
"We're changing the way people do business intelligence," said Tabb, 50, founder of Looker Data Sciences, which has $2 million in seed funding to hire entry-level people who are "brilliant and relentless" with a background in Structured Query Language and a love of economics.
The cost of the service starts at $750 a month.
Tabb announced the funding from venture capital firms First Round Capital and PivotNorth Capital on Wednesday.
While Looker was in stealth mode, the company signed up a dozen clients, according to spokesman Gregg Dellman. They included SimplyHired, the online job listing service, ThredUp, kid's clothing consignment online, and PocketChange and Message Me, both targeting mobile customers.
"The ideal customer" is a growing company with 30 to 100 employees, Tabb said, explaining that with Looker, a manager could write a query without going through the information technology department.
"If you have Looker, you can ask any question you like," said Tabb, describing it as a "general-purpose tool."
A marketing manager could ask which customers have ordered multiple times and which hasn't ordered in the past 60 days, then target an email pitch. A buyer could ask which
supplier has the most returns and why.
At PocketChange, where customers collect points for rewards by using mobile apps instead of a credit card to book a dining reservation or to play a game, Chief Executive Officer Amos Elliston said he appreciates the accuracy of reports on retention and revenues that are available within hours.
"You see real data," he said. "You don't have to debug it."
Larger takes time
Bigger competitors such as Oracle do something similar but installing their systems takes time.
"It can take six months to a year to do the installation and it costs millions," said Tabb. "We can do a functional basic version in a week."
Born in New York, Tabb attended college in Florida studying computer science and finance.
"Software is the most amazing thing in the world," Tabb said, recalling how his father frowned at his choice because "conventional wisdom was programmers don't make any money."
Tabb came to Santa Cruz three months before the earthquake. His wife-to-be Lisa wanted to study Chinese medicine at Five Branches Institute. Tabb knew Borland was nearby.
He had unsuccessfully tried to sell a piece of software to Borland, but was told, "If you ever want a job, come on out."
Roots at Borland
He worked at Borland from 1989 to 1994, scoring an office at the Scotts Valley campus with two glass walls looking out at the mountains.
"Santa Cruz is full of the most brilliant people," said Tabb, who has a son, 21, and a daughter, who will graduate from Santa Cruz High School this year. "It's a great family place."
After Borland, he founded Commerce Tools and sold it to Netscape, working as an engineer there at the birth of the Web and founding Mozilla.org.
He describes himself as the "founderish" and chief technology officer of LiveOps, launched in 2003. He founded ReadyForce in 2009 and is a seed investor in Blekko, founded in 2010 and aiming to outperform Google Search.
"I love making things," Tabb said.
His usual role, he said, is that of Spock, the science officer on the Enterprise, but with Looker, "it's the first time I'm sitting in Kirk's chair."
Follow Sentinel reporter Jondi Gumz on Twitter at Twitter.com/jondigumz
At a glance
Looker Data Sciences Inc.
What: Tool for Structured Query Language using its own proprietary language to perform analytics for business decision-making.
Cost: Starts at $750 a month.
Founding team: Lloyd Tabb, Ben Porterfield, Keenan Rice
Founded: January 2012 at CruzioWorks in Santa Cruz.
Funding: $2 million January 2013
Investors: First Round Capital, PivotNorth Capital
Public launch: March 2013
(c)2013 the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.)
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