Bearing Fruit: Nashville analytics startup reports 200% growth
A large part of that achievement is linked to new, strategic partnerships Gemignani struck with area universities
Many startups felt like they were sucking through a straw last year. Funding was less accessible. Venture capital firms only invested two-thirds of the amount of cash in startups as they did in 2021. Supply chain issues continued to pose problems. And good help was hard to find, as the labor shortage lagged-on in the first three quarters.
While some businesses barely squeezed by, Juice Analytics — a local software startup — pressed through 2022 and got a taste of success.
Subscriptions for the Nashville startup’s data-storytelling platform “Juicebox” surged. According to the company’s co-founder and CEO Zach Gemignani, Juice doubled the number of subscribers in 2022 and now has more than 6,000 end users on the platform. A large part of that achievement is linked to new, strategic partnerships Gemignani struck with area universities — Belmont, Middle Tennessee State and Athens State — and the Tennessee Department of Education.
Juicebox’s adoption by educators isn’t a coincidence. The partnerships are in line with a national push by higher education to increase data science courses and the number of graduates, as the demand for data scientists continues to skyrocket. In the United States, data science is the third-most in-demand tech job. On average, data scientists earn $100,560 annually.
“At its heart, data science is all about solving problems,” says Dr. Charles Apigian, the executive director of the Belmont Data Collaborative, a university-wide initiative that aims to incorporate data science curriculum across all majors. “The ability to analyze information and draw a conclusion is one of the most valuable skills an employee can have.”
Using Juicebox everyone from students to CIOs can create eye-popping, interactive infographics — data illustrations — and reports.
Subscribers simply add their data into the online workspace — either by importing an Excel spreadsheet or connecting to a database. Then, the user selects the type of chart or graph — line, pie, bar, etc — that they feel best presents the data. Text can be added to provide anecdotal evidence or act as explanatory captions. By connecting these visual elements one to the next, Juicebox lets users create an interactive data story. Colors and fonts are customizable allowing businesses to professionally brand each report. Individual subscriptions for the software start at $49 a month.
“We are more engaged by stories than a list of facts,” says Apigian. “It’s easier for us to remember stories because our brains make little distinction between an experience we are reading about and one that is actually happening. But like a children's book, pictures and illustrations make stories more memorable.”
Why are images so impactful? Visuals add a component to storytelling that text cannot: speed. The human brain processes pictures 60,000 times faster than text, according to research by 3M.
“The use cases (for Juicebox) are endless,” says Gemignani. “Data is needed in every industry and almost every facet of our lives. Data supports better decision making.”
Preverity — an insurance analytics firm — is one of the many businesses drinking the startup’s
kool-aid Juicebox. The healthcare technology company specializes in assessing, understanding and reducing the risk of medical malpractice claims for payors and providers. Hundreds of data sets and unique algorithms are used to generate that knowledge and advice, according to Preverity’s COO, Genre Boergner. But Boergner and his team have to deliver that complex information in a clear and concise format to their clients.
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“Our business requires us to be able to tell a story with our data,” says Preverity COO, Gene Boergner. “Juicebox is the best way to deliver those stories to our customers.”
Students at Belmont University are “juicing” as a part of the Data Collaborative’s mission to bring data science skills to the masses. Journalism and communications professors are challenging students to build data illustrations to complement their writing, while the science department is integrating the digital design tool as a way for students to share their lab results.
“Data Science is the process of extracting knowledge from data — hence our name Juice Analytics,” says Gemignani. “No matter the major, no matter the business, people need knowledge, people need data.”
The platform has also captured the attention (and pocketbooks) of three area Fortune 500 companies — Bridgestone Americas, HealthStream and AllianceBernstein.
Earlier this year, Gemignani analyzed his own company’s data, using Juicebox of course. His conclusion: More growth = More capital.
In a bid to boost growth, Gemignani says Juice will raise a seven-figure Series A round late this summer. He will use the money to ramp up sales and marketing and add at least 5 to his 17-person team.