Behind the Term Sheet: How Unsupervised is Solving Big Data’s Big Problem with AI-Augmented Analytics

unsupervised cathay Noah and Tyler

April 28, 2021
North America

Today, it would take a person approximately 181 million years to download all the data from the Internet, and the explosion of data is only accelerating — unleashing torrents of terabytes on changing customer behaviors and demographic consumer shifts. Recognizing that data is the new “gold,” companies that can harness the deluge of structured and unstructured data across silos to innovate and solve complex problems will win, while those that can’t — will not.

The issue they all face is: they don’t have the internal talent or tools to understand all the data on a granular level, let alone act on it. Corporations across the spectrum are still ramping up their data teams, which are undermanned and overwhelmed. But what if there was a way to simplify part of the process and shorten the workflow while helping users understand ALL the data in their organization and the WHY behind certain trends? While there are plenty of tools that enable data users to be more agile from labeling to model creation — what if artificial intelligence (AI) could augment teams with data analysis and decision-making in the same way Grammarly does for writing, Skan for operational leadership, or for transcriptions? Now it can.

Today, we’re happy to announce our investment in “AI augmented analytics” pioneer Unsupervised, leading its $35M Series B alongside Signalfire, Coatue, Eniac Ventures, NextGen Ventures and Elad Gil. Unsupervised disrupts the traditional data user workflow by ingesting data from various sources and automating the time consuming, tedious portions that takes hours on end. It helps with data preparation, reviewing and prioritizing insights — enabling users to understand the WHY behind their data and quickly draw the most interesting insights that are revenue-generating and actionable. It’s the game changing tool that they never knew they always wanted.

At Cathay Innovation, our philosophy is grounded not only in fueling startup growth, but helping our corporate ecosystem, including dozens of Fortune 500 companies, innovate. We believe that Unsupervised is addressing the major pain point associated with “data growing pains” that all corporations and businesses are facing today and has the potential to revolutionize decision-making in the enterprise — here’s why.

Business Intelligence: Can We Find a Better, Faster Path to Actionable Insights?

In Morgan Stanley’s latest survey on CIO spend increase, analytics ranks in the top 3. However, despite the increasing adoption of tools to help visualize enterprise data, traditional dashboarding and visualization tools only show what is happening based on limited information and users still can’t easily conduct granular analyses on entire data sets.

The problem is that incorporating and analyzing data on a granular level is a manual and time-intensive process. Data scientists and business users have to prepare the data and create a hypothesis about what factors affect an operation — and that usually entails combining information from disparate sources, upfront configuration and manually combing through multiple data sets to gain granular insights with long-tail data often being ignored.

We believe that businesses need to shift from limited data visualization showing what is happening to answering why certain trends are occurring based on a larger, complete set of information. We’ve seen other platforms attempting to deliver automated insights from large datasets. Some have taken a purely academic approach that has hampered the ability to meet commercial needs. Others focus on detecting anomalies in data, and therefore have less holistic pictures of the business.

Enter Unsupervised: Pioneering AI-Augmented Analytics for Automated, Actionable Business Insights

Based on our research, Unsupervised emerged as the one company that takes a different approach to deriving meaningful business insights. While there are many data tooling companies helping with traditional reporting, Unsupervised is truly pioneering “AI augmented analytics’’ to address the growing pains of the data deluge and limited data talent at typical companies.

Unsupervised makes things easier for data scientists and business users by automating the prep, insights and prioritization — saving time and unearthing a differentiated set of actionable insights that help enterprises understand the WHY behind their business trends. Common use cases include everything from helping companies generate new revenue streams, improving customer retention and satisfaction, lowering customer acquisition costs, optimizing supply chain, distribution and logistics to identifying and mitigating financial risks, among many other examples.

Instead of a tool that relies on users to test their own assumptions or make sense of data, the Unsupervised platform analyzes whole raw data sets to gain granular insights without ignoring the long-tail data. Importantly, users are able to apply their domain expertise to produce the right information required to make strategic decisions faster, instead of expecting a machine learning tool with no operational knowledge to provide guidance.

Here’s how it works: the Unsupervised platform ingests data from entire enterprise systems, connecting and weaving various data sources together, both structured and unstructured. Once the data is coalesced, the analysis is driven by AI that prioritizes and ranks which insights to present based on key business metrics. Unsupervised algorithms identify patterns among the data sets and distills noisy data and irrelevant trends from those related to the key performance indicators being investigated. Then, internal algorithms enrich the data and expand data sets from tangential sources. This results in detailed information that can uncover facts in long-tail data that could otherwise be easily ignored with insights only improving as the data set grows.

From Boulder, Colorado, Unsupervised was founded by technology and business veterans Noah Horton and Tyler Willis who bring decades of experience in senior roles from the likes of leading AI and ML enterprise company Ayasdi (acquired by Symphony), Hired, Involver / Oracle, Sun, HP and Microsoft. With a strong tech background in exploring mathematics theories to develop complex systems mixed with leading practical AI deployments at many Fortune 50 companies, the entire Unsupervised team fundamentally understands the balance between business-oriented and theoretical approaches towards product.

Parting Thoughts: Unsupervised Spurring Revolution in Enterprise Decision-Making

Unsupervised has recently seen significant acceleration with customers from the Fortune 50 to the Fortune 500, discovering over $52M in business opportunities with its platform in just the first few months of 2021. The company has gained traction among large enterprises across logistics, supply chain and e-commerce to sales and marketing.

At Cathay Innovation, it was abundantly clear that the Unsupervised vision for augmented data analysis and automated insights is solving a critical pain point for all businesses grappling with the explosion of data across sectors and aligns with the goals and needs we’re seeing arise from our corporate partners. The power of Cathay’s global platform lies in bringing together investors, startups and leading corporations across industries for mutual benefit: startup growth and corporate innovation.

Thanks to their strong team, innovative product and impressive momentum, we’re confident that Unsupervised has the potential to emerge as a major player within the analytics market and as they look to revolutionize decision-making within the enterprise, we are humbled and excited to welcome them to the Cathay family.