Big-data ‘unconference’ draws big interest in Boston

John Young of Archtop Ventures.
John Young of Archtop Ventures.Kyle Alspach

These stories and other coverage of Boston’s technology and biotech scene can be found at the globe’s new site, betaboston.com.

Vishal Kumar, founder of the big-data strategy company Cognizeus, and members of a big-data meetup he helped to start came up with the idea for a weeklong big-data and analytics unconference in late 2013.

Rather quickly, he and members of Boston’s big-data community got the event organized, found places to hold panels, and connected with “thought leaders” to speak at the conference. So beginning Monday, Boston will host the first Analytics Week-Big Data Analytics Unconference.

The idea is to bring the area’s big-data community together for a week of discussions, with a focus on all that is happening in data science.


The subject matter, however, has become of such interest to so many data-focused industries that the response to the event was not what its founder expected.

Kumar was shocked, after he booked the domain for Analytics Week, to receive e-mails from all over the world from big-data fanatics who wanted to attend.

Taking place over five days (each having a different focus, such as health analytics, marketing analytics, and so on), Analytics Week will move between Boston and Cambridge with events at District Hall, Microsoft NERD, and Hack/Reduce.

Speakers include Michael Greeley of Foundation Medical Partners, Chip Hazard of Flybridge, Atlas Venture’s Chris Lynch, David Jegen of Devonshire Investors, and Oracle’s Paul Sonderegger, among others.

Dennis Keohane

New private equity firm is eager to cut checks

A new technology-focused private equity firm has a presence in Boston and a desire to cut big checks. Archtop Ventures partner John Young, who lives in and works out of Boston, said funding could range from $30 million to $80 million.

The firm’s focus will be media-related technology companies, he said. That might include companies with a partial emphasis on areas such as health, travel, ad tech, and big data. “We think about media very broadly, not just about consumer entertainment,” he said.


Young spent more than two decades in the ad agency world and was a founding partner at Tribal DDB Worldwide and Modem Media/Poppe Tyson, an early digital ad agency.

He arrived in Boston a few years ago after having founded the advertising agency Full Contact, and selling his share of the company to his partners.

For Archtop Ventures, Young is serving as the partner with the expertise in consumer, brands, and marketing.

Meanwhile, New York partner Jeff DeMond (who’s also president and chief executive of Vyve Broadband) is focused on operations, and Philadelphia partner Paul Gruenberg (a private equity veteran who founded Plum Capital) is the finance specialist, Young said.

Kyle Alspach