Civis Analytics wants to bring your business the data science that helped Obama win in 2012

by Sam Dewey
July 13, 2015


Smart people know smart ideas when they see them.

At least, that’s the case for the founding team behind Civis Analytics, a group of analysts and data scientists who met while leading Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign to victory through bleeding-edge, data-driven strategy.

The team spent the duration of the reelection season tucked into a corner of Obama’s campaign headquarters, where they corralled data from any poll they had access to. In doing so, they were able to tell the President exactly where and when he should invest money and resources to score a win.

By the end of the election, Civis Analytics founder Dan Wagner was running an unprecedented 60,000 simulations a day, fueling the campaign with the data it needed—and with real-time results.

After their win, the analytics team knew the technology they’d helmed was something special. Instead of signing off and heading their separate ways, they formed Civis Analytics to help organizations expand their customer bases, recruit more students, or retain their talent—all through their particular brand of data science.

“The process of trying to decide if you like Coke or Pepsi is very much the same as trying to decide if you want to vote for on presidential candidate or another,” said Dan Chuparkoff, VP of Product at Civis Analytics.

Now, the company has introduced Civis, a new software that plans to equip businesses with informed, data-driven strategy.


From service to software

Initially, Civis Analytics functioned as a service company, whose data scientists worked closely with their clients (an impressive list that now includes names like Airbnb, Discovery Communications, and Ethical Electric) to power informed business decisions, like which customers to amp up engagement with.

“We took what we’d done on the campaign, extracted it out, and built a data-science platform that works outside of politics in almost any use cases,” Chuparkoff said.

Earlier this month, Civis Analytics unveiled Civis—a software that’s collected the knowledge of the company’s army of data scientists and engineers and pooled it into an accessible, easy-to-use, and robust data platform, all available in the Amazon cloud.

In short, Civis arms companies large and small with the predictive modeling, data-visualization, and data synchronization tools they need to make smart and swift business decisions.

“Data science for the last 20 years has been way harder than it needs to be,” Chuparkoff said.  “We're simplifying it a little bit by distilling it down to only the decision points that you absolutely need and hiding all the craziness under the covers.”

Using Civis, companies can organize all of their data in one location. Civis’ algorithms will build an explorable, 360-degree view of all of the company’s CRM data. While it doesn’t provide leads, Civis can read your company’s current customer data and predict the best insights and opportunities moving forward. With the platform, you can create and share customizable data visualizations with the people who need them most, and then schedule data exports to make sure your CRM database is up to date.

“There are modeling algorithms that will literally process hundreds of billions of rows of data, because it loads them in a little bit at a time and processes them on the fly,” Chuparkoff said. “That allows you to process huge amounts of data. Figuring out how to do that on your own is really hard—so we’ve packaged it up and made it as easy as clicking a checkbox.”

The company currently stands at about 95 employees and says they’re hiring—at about 50% headcount growth. Chuparkoff said they’re looking to fill about 45 new positions in total, some of whom will be building up their own teams as they grow with the company.

The company is backed by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and announced last week that O'Reilly Media founder Tim O'Reilly has joined its Board of Directors. 

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