A new data integration startup, Supergrain, today launched a headless business intelligence (BI) tool, designed for data teams who prefer interoperable, API-first solutions as they build out their modern data stacks.
The company, which was founded by George Xing, Supergrain’s CEO, and Thomas Chen, cofounder, and chief technology officer — both former engineering first hires at Uber and Lyft — also announced that it has raised $6.8 million in seed funding led by Benchmark.
“With the launch of our headless BI platform, we’re providing modern data teams with better tools to manage their metrics and analytic workflows,” Xing said. “Starting today, Supergrain’s API-first approach to BI will enable data teams to build trust in data and empower businesses to make data-driven decisions with confidence.”
The solution offers decision-makers a headless and interoperable BI solution that they can use to create a centralized repository of metric definitions that they can link to downstream tools, such as BI platforms and spreadsheets to create shared metric definitions.
Decision-makers often struggle with data analysis with traditional BI tools, like Microsoft Power BI, and Oracle BI, because there are no universal definitions of metrics. Metrics have different definitions within each tool and dashboard, making for a complex monitoring experience that reduces data reliability.
Supergrain helps address this challenge by providing a solution for creating universal metric definitions that the user can store in a centralized repository and then push to downstream applications.
API-first business intelligence
Above: A look inside the features of Supergrain’s business intelligence solution.
In an exclusive interview with VentureBeat, Xing explained that Supergrain enables teams to manage and integrate source-of-truth business metrics across all their data applications, and so provides a simple workflow for developing, testing, and publishing metric definitions.
Supergrain provides those sources of truth metrics via our APIs into the tools of their choice, be it BI tools, notebooks, custom data applications, or spreadsheet interfaces, Xing said.
Essentially, the user connects Supergrain to an existing data source, such as a database, produces a central definition for each metric, and then uses Supergrain’s API and query language (SGQL) to build workflows and analytics applications, so they can consume that data.
“Our approach is developer-centric, and what we call API-first, which means that we enable the data teams to define a single source of truth for metrics in a single repository, and then we expose all those metrics to the data consumers via APIs that they can query from anywhere, and so our approach is interoperable by design versus the traditional BI tools which are very locked in and application-specific,” Xing said.
Augmenting other BI providers
Supergrain’s emphasis on accessibility is something many BI providers have tried to focus on over the past years to eliminate siloing, most notably with Tableau recently announcing a Slack integration for its BI platform and Microsoft Teams releasing an integrated Microsoft Power BI tab at the start of 2020.
However, while many of these providers attempt to create vendor-specific BI ecosystems, Supergrain has taken an interoperable approach with a solution that’s not intended to replace existing BI solutions but to augment them so that users can access insights generated by these tools via APIs.
Supergrain’s approach is different from many of these tools because it doesn’t seek to replace existing BI solutions; it seeks to enhance them and make them more accessible to users so that they’re not locked into a single application or solution to consume data.
While Supergrain is technically competing with other providers like Microsoft and Tableau that are building vendor-specific BI ecosystems, Supergrain is also compatible with them.
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