If you were at Plug and Play’s EXPO last month then you saw emerging technology demos from hot companies in hot spaces like Retail POS technology, indoor mapping and location driven mobile advertising. You also saw, but may not have noticed, a startup working on a better way to leverage Unstructured Data in app development. Unstructured Data, data that is not organized in traditional database tables, accounts for somewhere between 70-90% of all data in organizations, depending on who you ask. A rush of companies are working on solutions to help developers search, leverage, and utilize this data. Stretchr, a Startup Camp Alumnus, is throwing its hat into the ring with a pretty powerful solution.
Part of the driving engine behind Unstructured Data growth is rich content. For the first 30 years of the internet, the majority of data shared was simple text. As platforms like Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and countless others have become more popular, so has rich content like photos, videos, music, and documents like powerpoint that combine various formats. This has led to a boon in Unstructured Data. How do organizations organize and utilize this data? How can developers build apps on top of it?
The problem lies in traditional database structures like SQL or Structured Query Language. SQL is a database programming language for relational databases. In a relational database, data is collected and organized into tables with rows and columns, similar to an Excel spreadsheet. It’s an efficient way to organize data, but it’s rigid and hard to scale.
Developers looking for a more flexible data model have turned to NoSQL, a database language that stores and aggregates data into documents. Data can be dumped in several formats without any formal structure. This makes it very easy to read and write new data (hence making it faster to scale), but duplication of data requires more storage. Since storage is so cheap, the tradeoff is worthwhile for companies struggling to keep up with massive influxes of data because it allows them to store the data without taking the time to parse and organize it. However, it doesn’t make it easy to later utilize that data.
Enter Stretchr, a 5-person team with a patent-pending technology designed to solve 3 major pain points in working with Unstructured Data.
1) Lack of NoSQL expertise
2) Lost Data Relationships
Whatever relationships that existed between bits of Unstructured Data are lost when you dump it into NoSQL. Stretchr has a patent pending data agnostic nesting architecture that preserves the relationships, making it easier to access relevant data.
3) Constant rebuilding of backends
Every time you build an application you have to build a database to support that application. A database admin will have to structure data and forecast how it is going to behave. To scale the app, the database admin has to use a combination of scaling, caching, and sharding to optimize performance. Stretchr does that for you.
Add these three solutions up and you get a platform where app development on top of Unstructured Data is super fast and simple. So what kind of use cases is the Stretchr team addressing?
“Nobody has focused on the complexities that developers face when using unstructured data” says CEO Christian Wolfe. The potential of the data is enormous, he says. “It allows for very rapid application development using metadata that has not been seen before. You can find needles in haystacks. A simple app that takes a week to build could take an hour.”
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