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HomeStartupOpen-Source BI Product Helical Insight: Making rich analytics affordable now

Open-Source BI Product Helical Insight: Making rich analytics affordable now

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Helical is a pureplay services company. It provides services in the domain of Data Warehousing, Business Intelligence, ETL, and Big Data Technologies and primarily focuses on open-source technologies. As the company’s operations expanded, it also developed expertise in proprietary technologies, followed by the development of its own product. After working on various BI products and with multiple customers, they saw the limitations present in these existing BI products, and that is when they started developing their BI product.

The company launched their open-source BI product Helical Insight’s first version in 2016; it is currently on version 4.1 and about to launch version 5.0. The product has been built on java, and the frontend is reacting and a completely browser-based product that comes in two versions. One is entirely free, and the second is paid. The paid version is also above 85% more cost-effective than other enterprises’ BI software.

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The current version of Helical Insight provides various features like methods of embedding, SSO options (like CAS, LDAP, AD, ADFS, JWT, etc.), caching for better performance, exporting in multiple formats, email scheduling, self-service drag-drop interface for reporting, support of canned reporting, user role management, data security, workflow engine, support for high availability and load balancing and much more.

Helical Insight product also provides extensive API support, various configurable XML files, and placeholders to add code for additional functionality (HTML, CSS, JS, SQL, Groovy, Java).

The company’s earliest customers were carried over from the founders’ older customers. These earlier customers were the early adopters. Currently, the company has 50+ clients using its BI product Helical Insight across various domains and geographies like education, clinical trials, banking, security, manufacturing, etc. Clients include Cynet, Timetrade, Reify Health, SmithsDetection, WastEquip, DavisStandard, KidsXAP, Unidesign Jewels, etc.

For the future, the company is also working on next-generation features, and its vision is to upgrade its products to become the most feature-rich and affordable in the market. The company’s roadmap includes in-memory mode support, direct support of various machine learning and statistical algorithms, an NLP engine for chat interface deriving data insights, and much more.

Nitin Sahu, one of the two founders, is an Engineer from Pune University from IT stream. He followed his engineering with Post Graduation specializing in Data Warehousing & Business Intelligence. Nitin has worked in start-ups as well as MNCs like Wipro. He is responsible for the company’s Product Development, Technology, and Operations Department. On the other hand, Nikhilesh Tiwari, the other co-founder, also did his Engineering from Pune University, followed by MBA from Symbiosis. Between these, he worked with Siemens. After completing his MBA, he worked for a few years in the telecom sector. Nikhilesh possesses vast experience in marketing and sales. He is head of the company’s marketing, sales, and finance departments.

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The company’s co-founders, Nitin Sahu and Nikhilesh Tiwari, met at school and decided to work together through start-ups. After several failed attempts, they learned the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed. Consequently, the two founded Helical IT at the end of 2012 in Hyderabad (Telangana – India). Within a few months of the company’s operations, the two founders raised significant funds through angel funding.

In the years to come, the company provided its services to more than 80+ clients, including famous names like CA Technologies, Tata Communications, Fractal Analytics, Technip, Government of Micronesia, Government of Marshall Islands, Government of Kiribati Islands, etc.

While providing services over various BI products, the founders felt other BI products were plagued by issues and limitations. This prompted them to start working on and launching their own Open-Source BI product. Currently, 51 clients are using Helical Insight on their production environment across various domains and geographies. So far, there have been 8 releases, and the company is working on a major 5.0 release. Being developed in the form of a framework and being open source, Helical Insight is a very developer-friendly and extensible BI frameworks coming in two versions, i.e., a free and a paid version. The paid version is also almost 85% cost-effective compared to other BI products without compromising on the features.

The company’s product is a complete sector agnostic product. It can be used by any company generating data and desiring to derive meaningful insights from it. The company has customers from various domains and geographies, including clinical trials, security, aviation, Enterprise software, education, manufacturing and ERP, government, and many more. The clients are from various geographies like the USA, India, South America, Australia, Indonesia, Dubai, Israel, etc. The feedback has been very positive, primarily because the kind of flexibility and features the company offers (at very cost-effective rates) is second to none. The company has been taking the feedback from the UX, functionality from its end users, and the kind of features competitors provide and accordingly make changes in the product roadmap. Much of this feedback is being taken care of in version 5.0, which will be released in July 2022.

The company would like more and more people to download and try their product. The community version source code is also available on GitHub, so users can contribute to the open-source code and add their own custom features and capabilities. The company’s success’s profits were used to fund product development. They also generate revenue from product license costs and services.

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Message To Potential Investors, Customers, and Viewers:

“As our product is maturing, we have plans to raise funding to help with aggressive hiring in the sales and technical side as well as adopting some aggressive strategies for our product sales. We would be looking to raise around $1mn in funding.”

We would definitely like to give some advice to someone starting as an aspiring entrepreneur:

Build something in a sector wherein you know the pain points and can tackle those pain points. Otherwise, the learning curve can be very long in many cases.

Have patience. There is no overnight success, and things take time. So don’t give up despite the hardships, and keep fighting.

Don’t try to start alone, have more than one co-founder with complementary skillsets.

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