Launching an Analytics Startup – Measureful (Part One)

Measureful at Demo Day My career over the last 3 years has been intently focused on one thing – understanding people’s analytics problems. Not just from the perspective of an analyst but from the business side. My goal has been to provide the right product or services to address analytics’ many pain points, which has led to a deep and unique understanding of our industry.

My name is John Koenig, I’m the founder and CEO of Measureful. We’re an early-stage analytics start-up out of Portland, OR. In this series of posts for Web Analytics World I’m going to chronicle my experiences of launching an analytics SaaS start-up. I’ll cover both the start-up side and the analytics side but mainly the intersection of the two. I hope to share the insight I’ve learned along the way and provide an inside look at a data start-up (first lesson, don’t call it “big data”). Let me tell you a bit more about myself first.

Not coincidently, I became interested in analytics the same year Google Analytics released their first product. I was running marketing at a small online retailer at the time and discovered the immediate value of this new tool. I taught myself ways to leverage the data to impact marketing efforts. I left that job and made the rounds at a couple of digital agencies before starting my own marketing and measurement agency when I was 26, SwellPath.

I helped grow SwellPath over the next few years and like most agencies we constantly tried to figure out a streamlined process for delivering our clients unique, meaningful analytics reports and insights without investing 2 weeks every month collecting and formatting. If you know what Reporting Week means, you feel me.

What started as a monthly reporting initiative to streamline manual effort evolved into an internal product. We hired an engineer and we ran sprints. We did what most agencies try (and fail for that matter) to do, we developed product.

We started building a data aggregator. We were manually pulling in data from various sources, compiling and formatting, so we decided to start there. There were a few other players at the time but they were more focused on social and didn’t have the flexibility an agency needed at the time. We aggregated a couple of data sources, built a simple reporting UI and shared with clients.

The feedback? Meh.

There was a lot of “this is great to have all my data in a single place but…I need more insight”, “what do I focus on?”, “what is the data telling me?”. We learned that our clients simply didn’t want more data, even if it was aggregated into a single interface. They had enough data and they were done. They wanted direction.

I founded Measureful to automate the process of data analysis and presentation. No big deal, right? I literally looked at a 10 page monthly report, complete with curated analysis from a professional analyst and said – “I could automate this”. Crazy, I know, but this was the genesis of Measureful.

Measureful was founded 1 year ago. I left SwellPath and started working on product full-time. As a non-technical single founder, I already had an uphill battle. I was solo and starting with no code (we scrapped the prototype we built). However, I was able to join a great new start-up incubator, Upstart Labs and, unlike most incubators, they provided resources, not just cash. Their team of engineers and designers became my team – off we went to disrupt the analytics space.

Fast forward 1 year, and we’re now a team of 3, 2 full-time engineers and myself. We’ve shifted focus a few times, learned a ton along the way and are currently building a product to automate client reports for interactive agencies; full circle.

In future posts, I’ll talk in more detail about what we’ve learned in the last year, why we’ve shifted and where we’re going. Mostly I’ll talk about the insights we’ve gained in talking to hundreds of brands, retailers, analysts, agencies and investors.

Looking for some specifics? Just ask and I’ll happily include them in future posts.

 This is a series of posts by Measureful founder, John Koenig. Read Part II, Validating an Analytics Startup with Analytics



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