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From the archives: Introducing Glean

Carlos Aguilar
Carlos Aguilar
March 30th, 2022
From the archives: Introducing Glean

TLDR: Glean is building a new way to make data exploration and visualization accessible to everyone. Half of our founding team spent five years building data products at Flatiron Health as early employees. We’ve raised $7M from some great investors to try to reinvent this old and crowded space.

Data visualization and exploration are broken

It’s never been easier to collect data and drop it in a database so you can analyze it. If you’re an early team, analytics-ready databases like Snowflake and Google’s BigQuery allow you to quickly collect data about your entire business.  But what are you going to do with it?

It can still feel surprisingly hard to start visualizing your data and get to real insights. We founded Glean to fix that.

It’s easy enough to write a single SQL query, but if you want to build a culture around data you’re going to need to teach your team to be curious about data and give them the tools to answer their own questions.

Start exploring early

My team of 25 data scientists, data analysts, and data engineers at Flatiron Health spent the majority of our time building data products—organizing millions of cancer patient records so that our internal and external customers could make a positive impact on cancer care.  We built data tooling to support patient programs like financial assistance, clinical trials, revenue cycle management, and countless other initiatives as part of Flatiron’s cancer center and cancer research products. 

It’s hard to get people into data. It was hard at Flatiron. It took training, good alignment, and data tools to empower people to dive in.  From our early days we were committed to getting the whole team into the data.

Building a data-driven culture is possible—just start looking at your data earlier. Begin with simple counts and measures and developing an intuition for what more you need to collect. And take the next step. Set up a tool that enables your entire organization to explore your data.

Introducing Glean

Glean is the easy way to start visualizing and exploring data with your team. Data visualization and data presentation are hard, and we want to get you going in the right direction in minutes—not hours, weeks, or months. We think you’ll be surprised by how much you can find out about your data and your business in the first ten minutes of using Glean.

We built Glean with a few principles in mind, formed from our own experience with good—and very bad—data visualization over the course of our careers.


  1. Ten minutes to insights: Our design goal is that you can start getting insights from your data within ten minutes of logging in for the first time. Glean always has a visual entry point into data and never presents a blank canvas or a data grid with a steep learning curve. There’s no run query button—you can dive right in and interact with your data.

  2. Exploration for all teams:  We want to teach everyone who’s interested how to be an analyst. Setting up Glean requires some basic SQL knowledge, but exploration after that can be code-free. Our objective is to increase access and have ways for everyone to be able to explore data in an error-minimizing way.

  3. Built for engineers: Technical teams are our top-level customers. Glean ships with a git integration, CLI, native build tool, code review, and tests built right in.

  4. Fights the entropy: BI and reporting tools almost always end with inconsistent answers and too many dashboards that go unchecked. We aim to battle dashboard cruft—making it obvious for every user what they should be looking at through standard, consistent metrics.

During our closed beta we’ve found that Glean is especially useful for early teams that are trying to standardize and track metrics. We’d love your feedback on how we’re thinking about the problem—please give us a shout or sign up for our list to hear about our progress.

Who we are and fundraising

We’re excited to share Glean with the world and announce our $7M seed round led by Ilya Sukhar at Matrix Partners.  Ilya brings great expertise in the data space—he was the first institutional investor in Fivetran and sits on their board.  We also have participation from great product angels like Elad Gil, Dylan Field (Figma), Shana Fisher, Scott Belsky (Behance), Cristina Cordova, and data angels like DJ Patil (fmr US CIO) and Anthony Goldbloom (Kaggle).

Half of our founding team worked at Flatiron Health, where we built data systems and data products to empower cancer centers and cancer researchers. Every member of our team has worked in healthcare, EdTech, or FinTech, so we feel grounded in real-world problems and are excited about how data can make an impact in society more broadly. We have seen firsthand how data can materially improve people’s lives and are excited to share data curiosity with the world.

Get started

We’d love to get you into the product, please request access or get in touch with us if you want to learn more.

We’re also hiring, check out our open roles!