Redbird promises to turn everyone in your company into a data analyst

Shame on hard-pressed data engineers, says New York-based start-up red bird, which just announced a $7.6 million seed funding round to come to their rescue. The money will help the company further improve its data analytics operating system and support growth at a company whose revenues have grown tenfold since early 2021.

Why do data engineers need rescue? The problem, explains Erin Tavgac, co-founder and CEO of Redbird, is that they are chronically under-resourced and terribly overworked. “We live in a world where companies are being told that every decision should be data-driven and where data volumes are growing exponentially,” Tavgac says. “But most companies experience the same frustrations.”

One problem is that automation hasn’t happened — by some estimates, more than a trillion dollars is spent every year on manual data-related tasks, and Tavgac believes two-thirds of that work should really be automated. A second difficulty is fragmentation: in their efforts to extract maximum value from data, companies routinely buy four or five different data tools that don’t work together.

The biggest problem, however, is the magnitude of the task that data engineers face, given their limited numbers. “In the companies we work with, it’s pretty typical to find a ratio of 100 commercial people per data engineer,” Tavgac notes. “It’s a recipe for disaster.”

The combined effect of these issues is that employees in positions such as marketing, sales, finance and more are looking for support that data engineering teams can’t provide in something like a timely matter. The promise of data and analytics is smarter, faster decision-making — a promise that’s undermined if requests for a particular data project take weeks or months.

Redbird’s solution is an operating system that not only provides a full suite of much more automated data services – encompassing collection, arguing, modeling and reporting – but also provides a user-friendly interface that does not require specialist technical knowledge. The idea is that analysts in business positions should be able to manage many of their own data projects — all they need to do is point and click — freeing up data engineers to support them with more complex or technical assignments.

It is a solution aimed at both parties, says Tavgac. “There will be a lot of people in the company who know exactly what they want from a data project and can use Redbird to get it without being at the mercy of their underserved data engineering teams,” he says. “The data team also has the time and space to collaborate and co-create – to work with the company to develop the data solutions they need.”

The analogy he draws is to the early days of computers before simple, easy-to-use operating systems made PCs usable for everyone; those without specialist coding could not take advantage of the new technology. Redbird is thus the data analysis equivalent of Microsoft Windows on an Apple OS; it aims to bring much more functionality within the reach of everyday users, while still providing more complex features to specialists.

Tavgac, who founded the company with his brother Deren Tavgac, who is now the COO of Redbird, believes Redbird will evolve in the same way as these fundamental technologies have changed over time. For example, he expects to be able to offer voice commands, so that users do not even have to touch a keyboard to organize data projects. He thinks that third-party application providers will eventually want to offer tools through the platform.

That’s for the future, but customers are already signing up with Redbird in its current form. The company, which was launched commercially less than two years ago, has already turned a profit and generates seven-figure sales. Unlike many in the startup space, Redbird is targeting larger enterprises — typically over $1 billion in revenue — which is where Tagvac believes the biggest frustration with data is felt.

The company’s seed round has the potential to accelerate its growth trajectory and product development. The oversubscribed round was led by multi-stage investment firm B Capital, with participation from Y Combinator, Thomson Reuters Ventures, Alumni Ventures and Soma Capital, along with several other funds and angel investors. “We believe Redbird will become a mission-critical platform for enterprises to manage complex data workflows,” said Karen Page, General Partner at B Capital.