Innovator of the Week

Greg McHale
Founder and CTO, Datanomix, Inc.

Your 30-second pitch

The 4th Industrial Revolution is upon us, as manufacturing facilities and laboratories look to embrace digital technologies to make their operations smarter, more efficient, and more cost-effective.  At the core of these opportunities is data, specifically, using machine-generated data from production, test and sensor equipment to answer key operational and business questions.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of complexities to extracting value from machine generated data – access to the necessary skills, managing disparate data sources, and perpetually evolving IT requirements, to name a few. This puts many companies in paralysis mode because they don’t know where to start, but their CEO is demanding they make progress on data analysis and Industry 4.0 initiatives.

At Datanomix, we make it 10X easier and 10X faster for companies to turn their factories and laboratories into smart, data-driven environments, and offer a user experience that anyone from the C-suite to process engineers can benefit from.

Who or what was your best resource for starting your company?

For starters, we have a great team – a crew that has worked together over numerous companies, and brings a lot of unique data expertise to our product offerings and a great understanding of the psychology and challenges of our target customers. I have also been fortunate in my career only to have worked for start-ups or their acquirers. In that process, I’ve been part of a large exit, a so-so exit, and a disappointing exit. Being able to compare and contrast the factors that are present in great outcomes and no so great outcomes with our team, peers, and mentors from those experiences continues to be a huge resource for us as we make decisions about how we want to grow.

A lot of things have to go right for start-ups to win – some of which is in our control, and some of which is not. Being deliberate about what’s working and not working on the dimensions we do control, while paying close attention to the implications of what’s happening on the dimensions we don’t control, is a major thread of our culture.

What was your biggest obstacle in starting your company and how did you overcome it?

In terms of getting the company off the ground, the big thing for us was making sure we were attacking a large enough problem. We are at this interesting confluence of cloud technology, IoT/machine data, big data solutions, and ultimately, the application of machine learning in these areas. These are all tectonic shifts when you think of the implications back to customer environments and their day to day businesses, and there is no shortage of technical problems to solve in those environments. We invested a lot of time and energy in understanding and proving out pain points before we got too far in product development. That required a lot of patience, persistence, experimentation, and, of course, coffee and lunch conversations.

What’s the best advice you have received?

I’ve never been a fan of this question, because I believe experimentation and the experience that comes with experimentation are better than any single tweet could ever be at helping someone through a knothole. Nonetheless, I can vividly remember my Dad telling me at age 14 that “there are two kinds of people in the world, ones who talk about getting things done, and ones who get things done – you need to decide which you’re going to be”. It was a kick in the pants at a key point in life where I was just starting to get interested in the combination of technology and entrepreneurship.

What about the NH lifestyle appeals to you?

So many things – the spaciousness of our towns, the natural beauty, our tax structure, and the chip on our shoulder to prove we don’t have to be in Boston to do meaningful things in technology or science.

What does the future look like for your company?

2018 is a huge year for us. We are bringing in some funding to help accelerate our product development and sales processes. We will be GA’ing our product, and have some pretty aggressive customer acquisition goals for 2018. If we deliver on those two dimensions, 2019 and beyond promise to be very exciting times for us.

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