It would appear that the race is on for the hearts and minds of human-centric data analytics platforms. Specifically in Stockholm. With last week's news of Steep’s €1 million pre-seed round, now crosstown rival Mason steps up to the mic with a $1.7 million pre-seed announcement.
Unless you’re working on an Olympia SM9, browsing the back pages of the daily, and heading over to the mailroom to get up to speed, you’re acutely aware of the data-driven society we work in. Whether you’re building great software, depending upon global supply chains and the logistics surrounding them, or crafting news stories that are aimed at reaching ever larger audiences, using data to guide your next moves has become de facto.
While we’ve become rather adept at gathering data from any and all sources, akin to timber floating down the Hudson River before arriving at Glens Falls to be processed, the sheer stream of data can be overwhelming.
We're all familiar with the ever-changing current that is today's stream of success, what was loaded with sap just a day ago, can be driftwood by tomorrow. It’s precisely this log jam that the jars at Mason are aiming to not only dislodge but help companies building killer software act upon at lightning speed.
With pikes made of SQL queries in hand and boots of experience strapped to their feet, Mason’s founders, William Tisäter, Anders Berntsson, and Anton Reimertz are setting out to make the sharing of data, and more crucially, the ability to extract the competitive advantages therein, available not only to those that know how to find just the right timber in the forest but selectively remove the trees.
"For a team that ships new features continuously, the requirements change fast, and your data tool must be able to answer ad hoc questions every day. The go-to solution for world-class product teams is SQL. It’s flexible and gives the user full control," Berntsson told me in an email interview. "The problem is that getting answers from data is terribly slow. Data analytics is a team effort, as knowledge about your data is scattered throughout the organization. But today’s data tools are single-player. This leads to more time being spent pinging people for help on Slack than answering the actual question."
For instance: with Mason, teams can write an SQL query once, visualise it and then easily share it with the rest of the organisation. Collaborative SQL'ing, Search duplications eliminated. ✅.
Building upon this collaboration, the tool then learns from every query created and uses this information to guide the next user to the right data. Didn’t check the shared knowledgebase and requesting the same info as someone else? Effectively, Mason steps in and says, “This has already been done by someone else, want to see the results?”
Further illustrated, the dreaded example of joining tables, a task, which if you’ve never had to do this, say your prayers you never have to. It’s a notoriously hard operation for noobie SQL analysts and, shall we say, the bane of existence for experienced data workers. With Manson if anyone in a team has joined two tables once, the platform will learn and auto-complete it the next time anyone on the team writes a similar query.
“We founded Mason because we looked in awe at the designers and engineers around us. The productivity gains they got from using tools they love didn’t compare to our experience working with data. We felt there must be a better way than rewriting queries repeatedly and debugging SQL on Slack,” said Berntsson. “With Mason, we combine the best parts of data analytics and productivity software to build the data analytics tool we always wanted. The strong support from our investors will allow us to pursue our vision of making it faster than ever to get answers from data.”
And it’s precisely this sound logic and experience that’s garnered the attention of lead investor Creandum and a host of angel investors.
“With Mason, we see a new era of data understanding emerging. As there is more and more data to analyze it is no longer sustainable to keep everything within a data team only and still keep up a fast pace. Mason will make sure that each team is data-driven and doesn’t have to wait for information from a separate team. Run by this highly experienced team, we’re excited to kick off this early-stage journey,” commented Creadum’s General Partner Staffan Helgesson.
In addition to Creandum, Mason’s $1.7 million pre-seed round saw the participation of Tobi Lutke (Co-founder of Shopify), Christian Reber (Co-founder of Pitch), Renauld Visage (Co-founder of Eventbrite), and Fredrik Björk (Co-founder of Grafbase).
On the investment, Visage concludes, "Being data-driven is a clear competitive advantage today but data access is still too often limited internally to SQL-savvy employees. I invested in Mason because they remove the last hurdles to bringing knowledge to every employee's fingertips so they can make the best decisions with the most relevant data for them at all times. No longer will they have to wait for a data analyst to get to their task, and this will be game-changing!"