Keen IO Helps Developers Solve Custom Analytics Needs

Ajay Ohri
Jun. 09 2014, 12:28PM EDT

Keen IO is working to enable analytics easily for all APIs. The company provides analytics and data science features for mobile apps and web dashboards. By providing the basic infrastructure, analytics for APIs is made easier. In an interview with Dan Kador, co-founder and CTO of Keen IO, he shares his vision and plan for a more analytically layered programmable web.

ProgrammableWeb: Describe how you and your team came up with the idea of Keen IO and the journey of your startup so far:

Dan Kador: My co-founders and I were all working on developer platforms and analytics. Kyle [Wild] worked at Google, on Google Analytics, and saw how hard it was to customize and extend it. After Google, he spent years at startups as engineer No. 1, where he built many different analytics stacks. Ryan [Spraetz] and I worked at Salesforce on the Force.com developer platform, he as an engineer and then product manager, and myself as an engineer and eventually architect.

At Kyle's last startup, he built something thematically similar to Keen IO — a developer platform focused on making it really simple to build powerful and custom analytics. He pulled Ryan and me in for our expertise in building successful developer platforms.

We started the company in January 2012, by going through Techstars Cloud. Techstars was an amazing experience that jump-started Keen IO in really powerful ways. It put us on a great trajectory.

Today, we're 15 people (and growing). After a lot of hard (and fun!) work, we've got a ton of customer success stories and some really exciting things coming out soon.

PW: How does Keen IO help data scientists? What critical issues does it solve for analytics in business?

DK: Keen IO makes it really easy for modern developers to solve their custom analytics needs. Our APIs allow our users to collect data from a variety of sources (mobile, web, Internet of Things, etc.), analyze that data on our servers in real time, and then share those results via visualization or programatically. Our customers use us across many industries:

  • Ad tech
  • SaaS
  • Internet of Things
  • Content
  • Gaming

They use us because we make it possible to do in-depth internal analytics and share results with customers, all with their own brand. With us, analytics products and features are easy to build.

PW: What are the ways and technology behind its workings?

DK: We're built on a set of modern technologies that are uniquely suited for the kinds of problems we face. These include:

  • Cassandra
  • Storm
  • Kafka
  • JVM
  • Python

In addition, we have client SDKs for most environments out there.

PW: What is your monetization and revenue strategy? What domains and business sectors do you see traction and successful case studies on?

DK: We charge a simple monthly fee based on how much data our customers send us. Check out some case studies here: https://keen.io/#stories

PW: What are some of the best practices you would like to share with other API developers?

DK: The most valuable thing for us has been in creating and sticking to our vision of an elegant and simple API. It's easy to build something complicated and messy. We've held firm in our beliefs. It's hard at times but well worth it.

PW: What is your view on mobile data vis-à-vis desktop data? Where do you see more traction?

DK: Both are required. Mobile data is much harder right now, mostly because of the time it takes to deploy new versions of your software. It's much easier to iterate on your data model and analytics from the server side.

I think this is an interesting startup in the APIs space, and it can greatly help developers and API creators by using the feedback from analytics for better design responsiveness by easier interfaces. Analytics for your API? Just another Keen IO API call away!

Ajay Ohri is the author of R for Business Analytics and likes to write on Enterprise ,Cloud and Statistical APIs with an emphasis on interviews. Follow Ajay on Google+ and connect on LinkedIn

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