Home Enterprise Startup Spotlight: Revolution Analytics, Taking on SAS, SPSS

Enterprise Startup Spotlight: Revolution Analytics, Taking on SAS, SPSS

Revolution Analytics is a company that provides commercial support for the open source statistical programming language R. Its flagship product is Revolution R for Enterprise, a distribution of R that competes with other commercial statistical products such as SAS and SPSS. Revolution CEO Norman H. Nie was the co-inventor of SPSS.

R was created in 1993 by by Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. It’s actually an implementation of S, a programming language that was inspired by the LISP dialect Scheme.

Revolution was founded in 2007 by academics at Yale. The founders weren’t actively involved in the development of R says COO Jeff Erhardt, but since Nie joined Revolution in 2009 the company has been actively contributing back to the main R project. Also, Gentleman now sits on Revolution’s board.

Although R includes a graphical user interface (GUI), Revolution provides its own a Web-based GUI. Both R and R for Enterprise are available for Windows, Linux and OSX. Revolution offers R for Enterprise to academics for free.

Revolution recently added the ability to natively import SAS data sets. It also announced its SAS to R challenge. Revolution will convert SAS code into R for free for qualified participants.

Revolution has several big name enterprise customers, including Bank of America and Pfizer. But one of the more interesting customers is CARDIODX, a genomic diagnostics company focused on – you guessed it – cardiology. CARDIODX uses R for Enterprise to process gigabytes of genomic data in order to predict the likelihood you’ll come down with a cardiovascular disease.

R and Revolution are also being used by consultants to provide data analysis as a service, something that licensing agreements on competing products prohibits says Erhardt.

According to Crunchbase, Revolution has received $17.6 million in funding from Intel Capital and North Bridge Venture Partners.

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