This ongoing series examines some of the key, exciting players in Boston’s emerging Big Data arena. The companies I’m highlighting differ in growth stages, target markets and revenue models, but converge around their belief that the data is the castle, and their tools the keys. You can read about the first twenty companies here.


  • Product: The Food Genome Project is a database of ingredients, recipes, and nutrition information that aims to eventually house every food in the world. It fuels apps and sites like SweeterSpoon, which transforms standard recipes into healthy ones, GluttonButtons, a bad cop for all guilty pleasures, and GrabFit, a dietary restriction substitution service.
  • Founders: Varun Chirravuri, CEO (@varunfive), Shaun Seo, UI & FE Engineer (@shseoyi), Ken Lee, Lead Engineer
  • Technologies used: I’m guessing web scraping, unstructured text analysis, named-entity recognition, some flavor of nosql database
  • Target industry: Consumer
  • Location: Cambridge, MA


  • Product: NuoDB wraps a SQL interface and ACID transactions around a NewSQL distribued cloud database.
  • Founders: Barry Morris, CEO (@bsmorris), Jim Starkey, CTO
  • Target industries: anyone using MySQL or some other RDBM who needs greater speed and scale (whatup, Facebook!)
  • Technologies used: SQL, RDBM, cloud elasticity, massive concurrency
  • Location: Cambridge, MA


  • Product: Spindle is a search engine that crawls the social web, returning results from Facebook and Twitter based on the searcher's location, time of day, social graph, and previous history.
  • Founders: Pat Kinsel, CEO (@patk), Alex Lambert, CTO (@alambert), Simon Yun, VP of Engineering (@simonyun)
  • Target industry: Consumer (could also see it being useful in media and advertising)
  • Technologies used: Scala, Akka, Spray, ElasticSearch, Lucene, iOS, AWS
  • Location: Boston, MA

Mortar Data

  • Product: Mortar Data's service opens up Hadoop to developers who know Python. Developers run jobs using Python and Pig, and Mortar's cloud-based platform creates private Hadoop clusters for each job.
  • Founders: K Young, CEO (@kky), Doug Daniels, CTO (@ddaniels888), Jeremy Karn, Lead Engineer
  • Technologies used: Python, Pig, Apache Hadoop, S3
  • Target industries: Ad-tech, anyone with lots of untapped/under-utilized data.
  • Location: Okay, this is a bit of a cheat. Mortar is headquartered in New York, but they were part of TechStars Boston and, per this SiliconAngle interview, have a strong desire to remain part of the Beantown scene.


  • Product: Runkeeper is a slave-driver/GPS/social network mobile app that provides users with realtime mapping, coaching, and an instagram-style community dashboard.
  • Founder: Jason Jacobs, CEO (@jjacobs22), Michael Sheeley (ex) (@michaelsheeley)
  • Target industry: Runners, quantified selflies, the twain.
  • Technologies used: iOS, GPS, HTTP API, PostreSQL
  • Location: Boston, MA