By Jamie Bailey, CEO/Founder of Initial State
Today, Initial State launched a new data streaming service for individuals. The reason this is a big deal is because this new service is loaded with the features and functions you typically only find in enterprise SaaS with enterprise pricing (i.e. really freakin’ expensive). Our price? $9.99 per month or $99 per year (sign up for a trial account here). Oh, and it is completely free for students. Here is a bit more insight on how this came to be and what to expect going forward.
We launched our first data streaming service in October 2015. We learned a ton over the last three+ years. Back in 2015, most companies thought the future of data streaming was technical advancements in sockets and other network protocols. Instead, we made a bet that the overall ease-of-use would be placed at higher value and built our streaming service on simple, stateless HTTPS APIs to optimize cost, scalability, usability, and compatibility. In 2015, most companies were focused either on back-end infrastructure (i.e. data ingestion APIs, data storage) or front-end apps (i.e. visualizations). We put an equal focus on both to build a better, more complete user experience. From day one, we made security, scalability, and reliability our top priorities. That meant making a huge investment with our precious funding dollars in DevOps and platform infrastructure (the stuff users don’t see but ensures our service is always available). So many young tech companies take shortcuts here and buckle under the weight of scale, something we could not afford to do.
We tried a bunch of different marketing strategies along the way including bundling our service with hardware in kits, piggybacking off of the latest trendy buzzwords, and even a terrible marketing campaign where I get hurt for the sake of data. Slick tag-lines and hopeful emails did not fuel our growth. Our users found us because they needed a practical, easy way to stream data from their projects and create an awesome dashboard/visualization or trigger some sort of notification. Our users found us through tutorials and examples that showed them how to build real projects that leverage Initial State in some way such as building a hyper-local weather dashboard or a realtime twitter sentiment analysis machine.
We tried a bunch of different pricing strategies along the way. We watched almost everyone in our industry focus mainly on making high-dollar enterprise sales, driving their pricing higher and higher while ignoring the individual users in favor of customer logos they could put on their website. They did this because this is the traditional SaaS playbook. We went down this path as well and realized we were losing out on our most passionate users. Our users are individuals, not logos. We needed a pricing strategy that reflected our user base.
The investments we made in our core platform have paid off as we processed over 100 billion time series data points in the last year with zero downtime. Those investments never stopped. Today’s new data streaming service launch includes the next generation of almost every aspect of our platform from account management to data services and triggers. This will allow our service to continue scaling up while providing the same reliability and availability standards our users have come to expect.
Our users are engineers, technologists, scientists, and students. Our service has become a tool in their toolbox that they use for a plethora of applications - home/office monitoring, device performance dashboards, GPS trackers, building a smart beer fridge, manufacturing line data collection, education, tracking energy usage, and so much more … a far more diverse set of business and personal use cases than we ever imagined. Being able to learn from our users what they need and how they use our service has allowed us to architect the next generation of our platform accordingly.
We built our new data streaming/visualization service to give engineers, technologists, scientists, and students a powerful, flexible set of data tools they can actually afford. It is very hard to build a reliable, scalable data streaming/visualization service. It is even harder to build such a service at $9.99/mo price point, not to mention a completely free student tier. We only pulled this off because our team is so damn talented.
Some of the features included in the new $9.99/mo data service include:
- Unlimited visualizations/dashboards
- Web-based dashboard builder
- Unlimited data streams
- Up to 180 API calls (1,800 events) per minute data streaming
- 1-year data retention
- Unlimited email/SMS triggers (USA only SMS)
- Real-time data expressions/transformations
- Public/private sharing
- iframe embeds for visualizations/dashboards
The best thing about the next generation platform we just released is not what it is today but what it enables for the future. Our pipeline of new features and functions is saturated with awesomeness — new visualizations, more customization, enhanced APIs, new integrations, real-time expression enhancements, and a bunch of surprises. Going forward, you can expect to see a continuous stream of new feature releases and add-ons.
We are doubling down on our content strategy with a plan to release a ton of new tutorials and how-to articles. We have been working on a new YouTube series, Git Tech’d, dedicated to showing you cool things you can build with circuits and software. We have unannounced partnerships with companies and schools that will create unique opportunities that will range from tutorials to built-in, code-less integrations.
You can also expect to see a new parody or rap video because we just can’t help ourselves. You can follow all of our announcements including new releases, tutorials, content, etc. on our Twitter feed. You can learn more about Initial State and try for our new data service at https://www.initialstate.com. The future is going to be fun.