When we started Compile, almost seven years ago, we knew that there was an opportunity to do more with data. At the time “data as the new oil” wasn’t the overused metaphor as it is today. Fast forward seven years and the impact of data has been muted. Most businesses struggle to meaningfully use all pertinent data sources in their day-to-day applications.
Since launching Compile, we have applied our technology across a variety of use-cases, from sales and marketing to healthcare and finance. A common theme across these disparate verticals is the need to combine publicly available data with proprietary private data.
Story until now
Like most start-ups, initially, we built a lot of ad-hoc systems as we looked around to find a market fit. But over the years we found that all our products followed a similar pattern: first, inject data then normalize data and finally, link this data.
Falcon wasn’t a project of its own; it was almost seven years in the making. And in some ways, the growth of Falcon closely mirrors Compile’s growth.
Compile started off as a newsletter that curated interesting data snippets from the deep web for weekly insights on multiple topics. This then evolved into a data digest of weekly B2B leads. In the beginning, we had a crawler called ccagent [Compile Crawler Agent], which sat ahead of all our systems crawling the web and collecting data. Over the years ccagent evolved into specialized crawlers like Sentinel, which also had Record linking of datasets built into it based on heuristics which collected company data that is now dubbed as Compile IS [Information Store].
Over the last few years, we have moved beyond sales and marketing and into healthcare, financial services and real-estate.
Through this growth, the core of the systems and processes have largely remained the same. I believe as a team we have reached a point where we are refactoring rather than re-writing systems. We have also open-sourced a few pieces of our platform over the years including Hodor, Stormtrooper, Cappy and various other tools of our own tools that we use along with Falcon to crawl, process, label data and store it.
When to call yourself a platform
These days everyone likes to call themselves a platform and why not! The term is attractive enough for sales teams to pitch to potential customers. But, we have always been very careful not to call ourselves a platform. Until now. This reticence stems from the belief that calling oneself a platform before users do the same, is a bit premature (and perhaps a bit imperious).
But as we’ve ventured into many applications, with the same underlying approach, we have found it hard to explain what Compile does as a company without using the P-word. At the end of our long explanations, the customer would simply call us a data platform.
But Compile is more than the platform itself. Ingesting and compiling the data is not enough, making sense of it is what we do for our customers. This is why we have also built a suite of visual tools for non-technical users and exposed our underlying knowledge graph for analytics super users.
Simply put, we are the products our customers use
Under promise, over deliver
There’s a lot more to be done. And as we look at other areas in which to apply our core data platform, we are becoming comfortable with our platform story.
And as we make our platform the core of our offering, we are also tweaking our name to Compile.com. For a self-funded company, our domain has been one of the few indulgences. It rolls off the tongue easily and it’s nice not to have to put a K in our name or make-up a transitive verb (Compile-ly?).
Compile.com also describes our solution well - compiling insights from data.