Company believes there’s gold in data mining

KIRKLAND – DigiMine Inc. burst upon the scene last March. Led by CEO, chairman and co-founder Usama Fayyad, the Kirkland-based company offers data mining and analysis for business as a rented service streamed over the Internet.

Now 1 year old, DigiMine has grown tremendously. Even its launch could be compared with the rocket Fayyad keeps in his office, a testimony to his days as a “rocket scientist” (he used to work for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory). It also signifies his affection for the Belgian comic-book series Tin-Tin, where the rocket first appeared.

For five years, Fayyad was a senior researcher in Microsoft’s Data Mining and Exploration Group, which he had founded when he joined the Redmond software giant.

Three weeks after leaving Microsoft in March, Fayyad teamed up with fellow ex-Microsofties Nick Besbeas and Bassel Ojjeh to found DigiMine with $5 million in startup funds from venture capital investors.

In August, DigiMine raised an additional $20 million from the Mayfield Fund, Second Avenue Partners, Deutsche Bank Technology Fund, Cedar Grove Investments and Kellett Investments.

Besbeas is DigiMine’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, while Ojjjeh is the company’s chief operating officer.

DigiMine was launched with the intent of solving a common problem in the Internet economy: Businesses constantly are acquiring data from their customer, from transactions, visits to the Web site, customer service calls, even by acquiring other companies. The problem is, most companies don’t know what to do with all that data.

Real data mining is a huge undertaking, Fayyad attests, and not one that many companies are prepared to fund or maintain.

DigiMine gets around that issue with its own service, offering the kind of data mining and analysis tools available to multinational corporations as a hosted service available over the Internet.

Customers provide data, which digiMine then crunches and gives back to the customer in the form of a report on trends and patterns.

DigiMine now has 90 employees and 30 customers, including, the catalog and Internet division of Nordstrom Inc., Seattle-based; etrieve Inc., Portland, Ore., DilaPad in the San Francisco Bay area, and also traditional retailers.

“We’re seeing a lot more of the brick-and-mortars expressing a strong interest and signing up to our services,” Fayyad said.

“I think what’s happening in the marketplace (is) with a lot of dot-coms dropping out or being acquired, we’re getting larger customers because they acquired dot-coms,” he said. “The traditional players are finally moving in (to the Internet).”

DigiMine’s highest priorities, Fayyad said, are to hire 120-150 workers over the next year and bring in 100 new customers. To that end, the company has hired a recruiting team and a sales team led by vice president of sales Tony Kevin.

“We want to grow big-time,” Fayyad said.

This month, DigiMine is launching Campaign Response Analytics, a new service offering designed to analyze the efficiency of marketing campaigns.

On March 2, the company will move into new offices at Bellevue Place in downtown Bellevue, where it will occupy 35,000 square feet on two floors, with an option of another 20.000 square feet on a third floor.

Fayyad said his company has no need for additional capital at this time and is resisting the urge even though “a lot of VCs (venture capitalists) are pushing us to take the money right now.”

While digiMine has yet to post a profit, Fayyad said that has been his company’s goal from the start and is something he expects to accomplish by next year – right on schedule.

He added: “I’ve been perfectly surprised we haven’t had to revive any business plans.”

Chris Winters can be reached at 425-4534232 or


Age: 37

Title: CEO, chairman, founder

Company: digiMine Inc.

Headquarters: Kirkland (soon to be Bellevue)

Type of business: data mining and analysis of businesses

2000 revenue: would not disclose

Employees: 90

Year founded: 2000

Web page:

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By: Chris Winters

Source: Eastside Business Journal


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