SumAll is known for its open culture, after all, CEO Dane Atkinson recently shocked the world after publicly disclosing his yearly salary ($120,000, by the way). So, it’s no surprise that the leading provider of connected data analytics is opening up its API in two months.
“We want to make sure that the service is available for everybody- that there’s really no bars to it,” said Dane Atkinson, CEO of SumAll. “The API is an extension of that, it’s a way that more people can unlock their data, people can put pressure on companies to unlock their data and make sure they can get at it. It’s the natural order of things.”
SumAll analyzes and visualizes information from 33 channels, including Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and compiles them into a single screen. Servicing over 60,000 companies and tracking over $5 billion in commerce data, SumAll is leading the space of business intelligence, which it has helped to create. By measuring major data channels, companies of all sizes can understand consumer behavior and make smarter business decisions. By opening up the API, more companies can utilize their metrics and tailor them to their own company.
One of SumAll’s biggest strengths is that it can provide analytics to small companies that don’t want or have the money to build their own analytics, allow them to focus on their core competencies. “We try to bring a lot of value earlier at a lower bar,” Atkinson said. This has been one of the main reasons the company has grown at a rate of 25 to 30 percent per month.
Opening up the API will add to its growth, attracting more large enterprise clients and cloud players that want to input their own internal data and tie their services into SumAll’s platform.
“It was always part of our vision,” said Dane Atkinson, CEO of SumAll. “We are shooting to become a center point for cloud data, and we can only do that so fast with our own efforts going one API at a time, so we always thought we’d get enough momentum that people would come to us.”
Aside from the business reasons for opening up the API, the “open” idea plays right into Atkinson’s overall vision about data ownership.
“We really do think people’s data fundamentally should be owned by the people who create it,” Atkinsons said. “The ecosystem has done some very strange things in saying we’re collecting massive amounts of data on your Facebook page, on your iPhone usage, and not giving it back to you. So we’re very much about transparency, not just with our culture, but in the ecosystem and a society.”
Atkinson’s strong views about open data have shaped the company’s culture, which in turn has shaped the hiring process. Employees are hired at an acceptance rate of only 1.2 percent with the company turning away dozens of Ivy League candidates. If they don’t fit the culture, they simply won’t fit into the company.
“The underlying theory is culture beats strategy,” Atkinson said. “A great idea in strategy eventually wears off, but if you have an environment where people are free to come up with good ideas continuously, you may make some mistakes, but ultimately it will right itself.”
SumAll has established a charity with that idea in mind. The SumAll Foundation, which was established by the company’s employees, is an organization dedicated to doing social good by analyzing data.
As for the open API, SumAll plans to make an official announcement with a dozen launch partners in a month or two.