Start-up of the week: Rinocloud

18 Jul 2016127 Shares

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Eoin Murray, CTO and co-founder, Rinocloud

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Our start-up of the week is Rinocloud, a Cork and Cambridge start-up behind a technology that makes it easy for teams to work on data.

“Rinocloud automatically adds extra context to data, like team discussion, parameters and metadata,” explained Eoin Murray, co-founder of Rinocloud.

“This means that you can deduce more insights and generate more results.”

The market

According to Murray, scientific data output is increasing by 30pc every year and billions of dollars are being spent on R&D information systems.

‘Data: it’s like a gold rush town in the wild west – out of control, with everyone living by their own rules. Loads of money and opportunity with frustrated regulators and companies trying to impose order’
– EOIN MURRAY

“Currently, R&D is generating more data than it knows what to do with,” Murray explained.

“It’s like a gold rush town in the wild west – out of control, with everyone living by their own rules. Loads of money and opportunity with frustrated regulators and companies trying to impose order. It’s a problem that’s getting bigger as R&D data output grows.”

Murray said that up to 20pc of data becomes useless because of poor organisation.

“Particularly on teams that have high turnover – lack of standards and consistency mean that projects are failing.

“Funders and investors are imposing standards and the sector is looking for solutions. The market is ready for software as a service (SaaS).”

The founders

helena_domo_rinocloud

Helena Domo, co-founder, Rinocloud

CTO Eoin Murray was doing a PhD on quantum computers at Cambridge before starting Rinocloud. Prior to that, he did his undergraduate degree at UCC, working at Tyndall.

“I originally built Rinocloud for myself, because I couldn’t find easy tools to manage the data and the ‘data-discussions’ inside my own team.

‘Wherever there’s raw data that needs to be contextualised and collaborated over to generate greater insights, we want Rinocloud to be that solution’
– EOIN MURRAY, RINOCLOUD

“My co-founder Helena Domo led a team, located between Cork and Cambridge, developing next-gen water sensors, and Fin Murray, our co-founder and CEO, has started a few start-ups and sold two companies before.

“The rest of the team is Cambridge and Oxford scientists with PhDs and Master’s – all have published Nature papers (except me!), and we really understand the market and the problem we are trying to solve.”

The technology

Rinocloud integrates directly with your data generation systems, like LabView, MATLAB and Python, so that you can easily save all your experimental or simulation parameters with your data.

“Our libraries and API are open source, so developers can build their own features.

“You can also make a lab notebook inside Rinocloud, where you can type latex, reference all your data or import graphs. There is a full discussion board so all your team can comment and talk about everything.

“Inside Rinocloud, you can make very powerful searches to find the data you want, like, ‘Show me everything about Lightbulb 004 that Mary made a few weeks ago’.

“Underlying all this is our cloud API, which any web-enabled system can connect to. In the future, we will allow teams to run the system on-site.”

Murray said the end goal is to make a platform that would make it trivial for researchers to find and analyse the data they want, especially in a team environment.

“Wherever there’s raw data that needs to be contextualised and collaborated over to generate greater insights, we want Rinocloud to be that solution.”

Growing pains

Murray said that the Rinocloud beta has been in the market since January. “But everything has gone crazy since Easter – to be honest we are growing a bit faster than we can handle.

“We have a few dozen research teams from Cambridge, Oxford, UCC, Granada and others using the platform, and we have a bunch of commercial firms evaluating the product. All the traction is from word of mouth and referral.

“We’re about to start a fundraising round.”

Murray said the biggest challenge facing a fast-growing young company is resources.

“For the past five months, we’ve been bootstrapping, and the demand for the product and subsequent demands on the team to cope with feedback has also been overwhelming. We’re now actively managing who and how many can sign up.”

However, he said these growing pains have been offset by the availability of cutting-edge talent in Ireland.

Murray described the Irish start-up scene as vibrant and helpful. “Enterprise Ireland is great. We’ve been talking to founders and investors in the UK and US and they are all plugged in to what’s happening here.

“There is also a lot of cutting-edge talent in Ireland, which has been a huge plus for us.”

His advice to fellow founders is to connect with Enterprise Ireland from the get-go and think global, not just for business but also for funding.

“We’re talking to Irish but also US, Chinese and UK investors.”

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com