Former Lookingglass CEO Derek Gabbard is now heading up a big data startup, and he’s building a new team in Baltimore.
FourV Systems, which makes a big data analytics platform that helps companies look at historical and real-time data in one place, officially launched in May. The company is based in the Power Plant Live startup space owned by Cordish. FourV is immediately looking to hire developers and data scientists.
The company was borne out of backend work done with natural language processing and machine learning by SRC, a Syracuse, N.Y.-based federal contractor.
"We had a really good opportunity for us in Baltimore. So far, it has not disappointed one bit."
FourV marks SRC’s fourth company that spun out of defense and intelligence work in the last decade. The company will customize front-ends for the platform. The company hasn’t determined what industries it will work with yet, but Gabbard said it could be tooled for use in financial management, manufacturing and healthcare.
Companies in those fields are already gathering lots of data about their operations. With sensors and IoT, the companies are only expecting more. While they may lack resources to invest in their own data science team, leaders of companies below the top tier know the value of that data, Gabbard said.
“They know they can get more predictive in their bottom line,” he said.
With its cloud-based platform, GreySpark, FourV can help those companies process more data, and speed up the analytics process.
Gabbard met members of SRC while working at Lookingglass, the Baltimore- and Virginia-based cybersecurity firm he cofounded. He previously worked as a cyber manager for SRC, but started working on the company that became FourV in September.
“When we brought Derek in to help us evaluate existing SRC intellectual property across multiple areas, he honed in on the big data space and the technology that we were incubating with internal investment,” said SRC VP of Intelligence and Information Systems Joe Lauko. “Derek built a robust business plan, secured board approval and funding and is the energy and vision behind FourV.”
Gabbard said SRC wrote what was essentially a Series A check to launch the company, enabling the quick initial hiring period (Gabbard and SRC declined to disclose the amount). Four employees are already onboard, and they’re looking to hire nine developers and data scientists in the coming weeks. While the company will be building the product and looking for initial customers like many startups, Gabbard said being a subsidiary of SRC offers a measure of comfort that many early-stage companies don’t typically enjoy.
“It is a startup feel without some of the risks that you have in early-stage startups,” he said.
With roots in Baltimore with Lookingglass, and his home between Baltimore and Annapolis, Gabbard knew where he wanted to locate the company. He said he made a pitch for Baltimore city. SRC looked at Silicon Valley, Boston and New York, but Baltimore ultimately won out.
“When looking specifically at ‘big, fast data’ developers and analysts, we thought the location, the cost, and the availability of talent meant we had a really good opportunity for us in Baltimore,” Lauko said. “So far, it has not disappointed one bit.”