A new data platform designed to give early stage tech companies faster data analysis has come out of stealth mode.

The firm, Count, said it has unveiled itself amid an urgent need to give start-ups better decision making tools.

The firm, which raised $2.4m in a previously unannounced seed round, is launching formally and has opened up its data platform to startups working in the fight against the coronavirus crisis for free.

The funding round was led by LocalGlobe, with participation from Global Founders Capital. Angel investors including Charlie Songhurst, the former head of corporate strategy at Microsoft have also backed the round.

Founded in 2016 by former management consultant Oliver Hughes and Imperial College physicist Oliver Pike, Count’s data consolidation and analysis features are designed to help growing tech companies make strategic and operational decisions.

The firm calls itself a data warehouse, transformation tool and visualisation and reporting platform all in one.

It said its core differentiator is the lack of a data dashboard.

Instead, analysis and visualisations in Count are all completed in what I calls data ‘notebooks’.

Count said these notebooks allow users to combine their analysis with text, images and other content, so users can explain their findings fully and aid collaboration. The notebooks also feature a “notebook SQL” syntax which allows users to query data “up to 7x faster” than SQL.

“Dashboards may be the industry’s method of choice for displaying data but they’re actually pretty poor at helping teams make decisions,” said Hughes.

“Dashboards show lots of charts but don’t provide the wider context which is always needed when making decisions confidently.”

Tiney.co, a London childminding platform, has been using the software.

“Count has given us a way to pull all our data together and build reports for the whole team,” said Edd Read, CTO at Tiney.co.

“Notebooks are a powerful way for us to share insights in context and give the team the ability to query data without having to learn SQL”

The firm is offering organisations 6 months free access to the Count platform as well as dedicated analytical support to teams most in need of analyst support.

Hughes explains: “Over half of our team have partners who are frontline healthcare professionals who are putting their lives at risk whenever they go to work. As a team we wanted to use the resources we had to help in our own small way.”