This editorial article is a part of Software Trends Month 2022 of Technical.ly's editorial calendar. This month’s theme is underwritten by Spotify. This story was independently reported and not reviewed by Spotify before publication.
Since the RJMetrics days of the late aughts and 20-teens, Philadelphia has slowly but surely grown as a hub for data analytics companies.
It’s in large part thanks the alumni of that company, said Chris Merrick, its former VP of engineering. Merrick moved to Philadelphia shortly after college, about 12 years ago, and has stayed through the scene’s growth and evolution.
After RJMetrics, Merrick went on to become the CTO of its spinout, Stitch, which was bought by Talend in 2018. He stayed on at Talend as VP of engineering until earlier this year, when he linked up with two college friends in the data field to bring a new product to life: Omni.
Omni is a business intelligence tool that helps companies both create a data model and act as a tool to analyze it, making it easier for them to work with data across their organization. Most data tools prompt users to spend a lot of time upfront modeling their data, and the goal with Omni is to jump right into using it. Omni’s tools generate data models and components from SQL, creating a sandbox data model and allowing users to to use metrics across the whole organization.
“We’re saying, why don’t you start by exploring your data with our visual interface, and it’ll start building data model based on your analysis?” Merrick said.
Philly is a substantial part of this company's origin story and I think our presence here will grow.
The local cofounder is joined by Jamie Davidson and Colin Zima, who work from the Bay Area. The San Francisco-based cofounders came to the venture from Looker, a business intelligence and analytics tool that was bought by Google in early 2020. With their similar work in the space, the trio thought they could come to market with an iterative BI tool. In early 2022, they got to work.
The company has since closed two rounds of venture capital — a seed round led by the Fitler Club-HQ’d First Round Capital, and a Series A led by California’s Redpoint Ventures. The cofounders have closed $26.9 million to date, of which the seed round was used for hiring a distributed team of 17, five of which are in the Philly area. Right now, their team is “more than 50%” engineers, a mix of front and backend folks. And although it wasn’t intentional, those engineers mostly live in the Bay Area, in Boulder and here in Philly.
“The premise of the seed was to hire the team to build the product, and we are still definitely spending that seed money,” Merrick said. “The Series A is extension to that, and it’ll help bring the product to market.”
Merrick predicts Omni will be selling its product “no later than 2023.”
Though being distributed is core to the company’s growth and ability to hire the best talent, Merrick has a goal of making Omni just as much associated with Philadelphia as it is to the Bay Area.
“Philly is a substantial part of this company’s origin story and I think our presence here will grow,” the cofounder said.
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