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John Foley
John Foley
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Startup Of The Week: Pentaho Offers Opens Source BI Alternative

The commercial company "leads and sponsors" the open source projects that are core to its suite, giving it direct influence over software development.

Consolidation in the business intelligence market has pushed Business Objects into the arms of SAP and Cognos into IBM’s fold,but there are other options. Pentaho is gaining traction with its open source alternative, a BI suite that includes reporting and analysis tools, data mining, and dashboards. Service subscriptions tripled last quarter.
-- John Foley


Richard Daley, co-founder and CEO, Pentaho -- Photo by Eric Larson

Daley and co-founders are on their third startup
Photo by Eric Larson


PRODUCT: Pentaho Open BI Suite, open source business intelligence applications

PRINCIPALS: Richard Daley, co-founder and CEO; Marc Batchelor, co-founder and chief engineer; James Dixon, co-founder and chief geek

INVESTORS: Benchmark Capital, Index Ventures, New Enterprise

CUSTOMERS: Close Premium Finance, Lifetime Networks, ZipRealty

A commercial open source company, Pentaho "leads and sponsors" the open source projects that are core to its suite, giving it direct influence over software development. The developer community involved in those projects is around 8,000 members. Pentaho generates revenue via technical support and management services for enterprise customers.

Co-founders Daley, Batchelor, and VP Doug Moran previously co-founded AppSource (acquired by Arbor Software, later merged into Hyperion Solutions) and Keyola (acquired by Lawson Software).

Development centers on five projects: architecture, data integration, analysis services, data mining, and reporting. The architecture (called Pentaho BI Platform) includes a workflow engine and integrates reporting, analysis, and the other apps. The data integration project (called Kettle) focuses on extract-transform-load tools. Analysis services (Mondrian) are manifest as an OLAP database written in Java. Data mining (Weka) comprises classification, clustering, and other algorithms.

The next major release of the Pentaho Open BI Suite, version 2.0, will include a metadata services layer that lets administrators map relational data sources into so-called business views. The goal is to make it easier for users to run queries or select from predefined subjects without having to know database programming. Pentaho plans to integrate with content management systems as a way of storing and managing reports. New wizards will make it easier for admins to deploy OLAP cubes.

Startup City Timeline: Pentaho

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