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1Mby1M Deal Radar 2010: Kapow Technologies, Palo Alto, California

Posted on Monday, Sep 6th 2010

Kapow Technologies provides Web data services to more than 400 enterprises, including AT&T, Walt Disney, Morgan Stanley, Intel, Vodafone, and Audi. These companies use Kapow’s Web data server to automate their access to and integration with any data that can be viewed in a browser or virtually any Web application. This includes social media data on the public Web, private data inside the firewall, or partner data within a collaboration portal. The goal is to eliminate the barriers to accessing and integrating these data sources with their critical information applications, enabling companies to benefit from access to real-time, actionable business intelligence.

The company was founded in 2001 by Denmark native and CTO Stefan Andreasen. Its fifty employees work from the Palo Alto headquarters and from offices in New York City, Austin, Germany, the UK, and Denmark. Andreasen began his career in data visualization at Advanced Visual Systems, where he worked on Java and visual programming projects. In the late 1990s in Denmark, he founded Kapow.net, which grew into what became Europe’s largest online marketplace for luxury goods.

As part of building Kapow.net, Andreasen and his team developed a platform for internal use that automated the data extraction process from more than 5,000 websites while simultaneously normalizing and cleansing the data. It was built on a disruption assumption that the browser could be used as the interface for both viewing and extracting data, an approach heavily influenced by Andreasen’s experience working object-oriented layouts. This platform allowed the Kapow.net team to perform work that would have been impossible using any other technology on the market. Andreasen sold Kapow.net and formed Kapow Technologies to focus solely on the data extraction platform.

The company’s flagship product is the Kapow Web data server, an enterprise platform that can wrap any existing website or Web application into data feeds or programmatic interfaces (APIs) without any coding. The base product can be augmented with various modules: the database module offers direct support for storing and accessing data into any major SQL database; the API module provides programmatic runtime interaction with robots in real time; the portal clipping module wraps existing Web applications into JSR-168 compliant portlets for direct deployment to major J2EE portal platforms; the advanced management module adds system administration and production monitoring capabilities; and the content migration module extracts, transforms, and loads any Web-based content into a commercial content management system (CMS). Kapow On Demand is a multitenant pay-as-you-go version of the main product.

When Kapow Technologies was founded, simple script-based Web crawling technologies, also known as screen scrapers, were just beginning to emerge. At the time, scripting tools such as QL2 were used to access relatively small volumes of data from basic websites. But Kapow believes that these technologies and their market potential remain limited today for two main reasons:

1) They are unable to efficiently access, enrich, and serve high volumes of “noise-free” data, especially from more complex, modern websites based on XML and AJAX, and;

2) They require extensive manual effort and coding to extract and transform the data and integrate it with other business applications. This is not scalable for enterprise use.

Kapow’s main competitor remains the tendency for businesses to outsource and offshore data services to inexpensive overseas labor, where workers manually search the Web then copy and paste that information into applications for knowledge workers. Commercial competitors in the Web data services market include Informatica and Cast Iron Systems (acquired by IBM).

Kapow was built in direct response to the Web data access and transformation issues we were experiencing at Kapow.net and the universal pain that large organizations shared in dealing with the extraction and integration of Web data sources (e.g. data stored in Web apps such as Salesforce.com, intranet data, public Web data, and social media data). Recognizing the inevitable move toward the cloud, SaaS, and Web-based applications, Kapow standardized its solution on the browser.

Based on the continued move toward the browser and Web-based applications as the de facto standard for viewing data, and the fact that Kapow’s solution is applicable across several sizable markets, including business intelligence, data integration, content migration, and data mining, the company believes there is a multibillion-dollar market opportunity. At present, 75% of revenues come from direct sales and the remainder from partner/indirect sales. The company would eventually like to achieve a 50/50 split between direct and indirect sales.

To take a few real-world examples of how the subscription-based product works, the evidence-based research team at Morgan Stanley uses Kapow to feed it proprietary data sets to further inform and advance its stock recommendations. Within 10 minutes of receiving a demo of the Kapow Web Data Server, them team decided to switch from its previous Web data monitoring and mining solution because with Kapow it could access large amounts of data from around the world and even do postanalysis work such as feeding global content into a translation application to deliver that content in any language. Because workload efficiency has increased, the team today is able to scale its work and take on more projects.

Another example is Fiserv, a multibillion-dollar financial services company. Fiserv’s corporate treasury department required a Web-based solution to monitor, analyze, and manage its compliance of more than 10,000 financial transactions a day. For three years the company had been trying to find a solution that would meet its needs. Kapow was able to build a solution that saved Fiserv millions of dollars.

In addition the the customers mentioned above, Kapow has Fortune 1000 clients in all sectors. Key targets are the government and financial services and information services companies.

Kapow has raised about $25 million in venture funding: a $6.7 million Series A from Kennet Partners in March 2005; a $6.8 million Series from Kennet Partners and NorthCap Ventures in November 2006; and and $11.6 million Series C from Steamboat Ventures and Morgan Stanley in March 2008. The company has no plans to raise more money at this time.

Revenue is between $10 million and $20 million, and the company recently achieved profitability. It closed out a record fiscal year this June, closing 98 deals with both new and existing customers in the fiscal fourth quarter with 67% year-over-year growth.

Although it can’t disclose much about it publicly at this point, Kapow is working on what will be a strategic business move in the coming months that it believes will open many new door and drive up the average deal size an increasing number of Fortune 1000 organizations standardize on Kapow to meet the entirety of their data access and integration needs. There are no plans for an exit.

Recommended Readings
A Look at Automated Content Migration: Part 1 – Kapow Technologies (from CMS Wire)
Enterprises Leading the Point and Click App Creation Revolution (by Klint Finley of ReadWriteWeb)
Deal Radar 2010: HyperQuality

This segment is a part in the series : 1Mby1M Deal Radar 2010

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