There are countless tales of unrealistic start-up valuations and the infamous spending without discipline mindset. Suhail Doshi, CEO of $865 million data analytics start-up Mixpanel, has a refreshing outlook on the madness that currently  surrounds tech culture.

When asked about his personal start-up experience, he told Business Insider "instead of asking how to keep growing or how to raise cash, the real challenge at Mixpanel is figuring out how to be a cockroach." A subtle hint on embracing the benefits of prudence in a world obsessed with unicorns.

Armed with an impressive client list and stories of helping tech behemoths Uber, Airbnb, Match.com, Amazon's Twitch and Spotify to predict the future, I felt compelled to learn more. Could advanced analytics really help businesses understand our online behavior?

Despite approaching the infamous unicorn status, Suhail has often attempted to set the record straight. Having raised money and failed multiple times before succeeding, he has become much wiser than his young years.

Mixpanel is an advanced mobile analytics app that helps businesses understand exactly how users spend their time inside mobile apps. Offering an invaluable insight into what we are liking or sharing allows developers to improve popular features and remove what is widely being ignored.

Suhail wanted to create an antidote to what he calls the BS metric of our past. Back in 2009, we judged success by tracking page views only. Traditional media seemed to embrace this and celebrated shallow successes promoting stories around how Tumblr and  LinkedIn, for example, has millions of registered users. But does it represent how users access apps?

The rise of mobile applications and rich content changed all that. We need to move away from how many registered users or visitors frequent a site or app. Understanding real-time engagement from meaningful data is where the real value lies. How many photos each user is posting to Instagram, or how many Uber rides are being requested creates a powerful understanding of engagement.

The tracking of these actions mathematically creates an overview of how people are using apps to understand their products better than the competition. App fatigue also means that companies face an uphill struggle to get people back to an app once downloaded.

The days of just monitoring page views alone are long gone. The ability to look at the constantly evolving bigger picture is proving to be invaluable. Constantly tweaking and adding improvements is already becoming the difference between failure and success.

Many companies do not have the time or the resources to build capable products in-house. Talk of data scientists and SQL queries are enough to make even the most tech-savvy CEO switch off.

Mixpanel's out of the box features are what is attracting big businesses. Enabling leaders to see how often customers come back after three months or how many users return 3 or 5 times a day is providing unprecedented value in this new digital world.

The team at Mixpanel are also adopting their own ethos by continuously improving their services. New ways of integration are increasingly rising to be the top of CEO's wish lists and something high on the agenda for this mobile analytics start-up.

The recent addition of an iOS app to accompany the web app was a welcome addition to the Mixpanel family. But the much needed Android app on the horizon should be the icing on the cake.

It's only a matter of time before this startup reaches the infamous unicorn status. Thankfully, this is one company that doesn't seem to have their head in the clouds.

Check out my recent conversation with Suhail Doshi on my podcast. We discuss a strong focus on understanding users actions and engagement to unlock the real value hidden inside data.

 

 

 

 

Published on: May 16, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.