Logan Havern, Founder & CEO at Datalogz
Logan is an innovator in the data space, solving the biggest challenges with enterprise data management.
Currently, he is the CEO & Founder of Datalogz, building out their vision to help companies 5x their ROI on data and create the most robust metadata pipeline available on the market.
Initially, Logan experienced data confusion early in his career at JetBlue and was motivated to build a platform to solve it. He built the first version of Datalogz himself.
He studied engineering at Texas A&M, focusing on analytics, and is always open to conversations about data and entrepreneurship.
Connect with Logan on LinkedIn.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- About Datalogz
- The current state of the company
- Fundraising updates/news
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:04] We’ll come back to the Startup Showdown podcast, where we discuss pitching, funding and scaling startups. Join us as we interview winners, mentors and judges of the monthly $120,000 pitch competition powered by Panoramic Ventures. We also discuss the latest updates in software web3, health care, tech, fintech and more. Now sit tight as we interview this week’s guest and their journey through entrepreneurship.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:38] Lee Kantor here another episode of Startup Showdown, and this is going to be a fun one. But before we get started, it’s important to recognize our sponsor Panoramic Ventures. Without them, we couldn’t be sharing these important stories. Today on Startup Showdown, we have Logan Havern with datalogz. Welcome, Logan.
Logan Havern: [00:00:56] Lee Thanks for having me here.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:57] Today. Well, I’m excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us a little bit about data logs. How are you serving folks? Yeah.
Logan Havern: [00:01:04] So Data Logs is a B2B SAS platform. We help companies organize their data, so we sit on top of all of their relational databases by tools and provide one central discovery portal. So any business analyst data scientists can quickly find and understand data within a company.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:24] Now, can you explain just for the folks who aren’t as familiar about data, kind of what it is people talk about big data, and I would imagine that can kind of refer to lots and lots of things, but talk about data as an industry, and that’s an area of interest for you to solve a problem in that space.
Logan Havern: [00:01:46] Yeah, it’s a really good question. So big data as a whole is what drives a lot of decisions at different enterprises and companies. So right now, companies want to be more data driven. So if you think about an airline, for example, they might collect transactional data on each ticket, what flight delays happen, what staffing occur. So there’s all these different elements that a company would collect to have more and more data. And I actually got started in data by working at JetBlue, an airline based out of New York on the East Coast here in the US. And I was on an engineering team there. And so one of the big challenges of my job is my boss would come say, Hey, can you build a machine learning model to do something like predict flight delays? And to do this, I would have to go find data within JetBlue. This could take weeks, emails, talking to I.T. teams, asking around, hey, where does this data live? So that was kind of the problem and pain point I got started with while working on data logs.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:44] But when it comes to data, there’s all kinds of data and and how do you know which is the relevant data and which data is irrelevant to solving the problem that you’re working on?
Logan Havern: [00:02:57] Yeah, it’s a good question. So I think for any data person, the first step in a project or an analysis is figuring out what is that relevant data. And it’s going to be different to each project, whether it’s a relational database, structured, unstructured, and there’s a million different formats it could be in, but a company or a user at a company is going to have to go in and really try to understand what is the problem, trying to solve, what inputs do I need to solve that problem? And they’d have to go out and find and discover that data to make sure they solve that problem. So at data logs, we start by making it a very easy Google search component where you can easily discover any data within your company.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:40] So, so how does it work? So I’m a company out there and I have a lot of data. What is the exact problem that I’m having where data logs is going to help me, you know, either relieve this frustration or help me leverage the data in a more meaningful manner. Yeah.
Logan Havern: [00:03:58] So the problem that we’re solving is on average, 40% of a data user’s job is spent just trying to find the right data for their projects. So rather than having to dig through, send emails, phone calls, we make it as easy as a Google search to quickly find data within a company. So rather than spending 40% almost a few days every week, if you’re a data scientist or data analyst trying to find data, we serve you relevant results to your role instantly based on your project. So we cut down that data discovery time down to seconds and improve the productivity of any data analyst, data scientist, business analyst who needs data at a company.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:39] Now you mentioned you got your start in the airline industry. Were that is that where some of your first kind of beta test subjects came from?
Logan Havern: [00:04:48] Yes, we’re an industry agnostic solution. So actually when COVID hit, not many people were flying planes anymore. So I had a ton of free time on my hands. And so what I decided to do is, hey, I’ve been having this problem with my job in aviation. I’m going to build a solution to try to solve it. So I actually use a no code development platform called Bubble Hack Together, the first version, and put it online through a couple of Reddit posts as well as posting in some Facebook data science groups. We’ve got about 300 users in just two weeks on this original version, and so it came across quite a few different industries. There were some airline people trying it out, but airlines similar to the financial industry are highly regulated, a lot of data compliance rules. So as being a startup, we didn’t want to have a long sales cycle where it takes 6 to 8 months to close a deal because we need to close deals, get customers immediately. So most of our early customers have been more e commerce and the less regulated industry so far.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:50] Now, when did you start feeling like, hey, we’re starting to get some traction? I think this is really going to help some folks. This is a problem worth pursuing.
Logan Havern: [00:05:59] Yeah. So when I built that original MVP and put it online, we got that 300 users in just a few weeks, and that was the validation I needed. I’m getting these users, I’m getting their feedback, and people are telling me 100 reasons why they can’t use it at their job today, but what problems and how much it could help them? So that was kind of the initial feedback that I got on the platform. I was like, Okay, we’re really on to something here. People want this solution, but the version that I built lacked scalability and also security for enterprise IT teams. So I had to figure out, okay, how do I basically build that into the product? So we spent another nine months redesigning the platform from the ground up to solve these problems and make sure it is compatible with it. Regulations, compliance, and that big companies, regulated industries cannot use our product.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:48] So how did you hear about Startup Showdown?
Logan Havern: [00:06:52] Yeah. So actually I think I was scrolling on Twitter one day and I saw one of the founders of Panoramic Ventures tweet about it, one of the general partners there that I’d been following for some time. So that really piqued my interest. And then I ended up applying a few weeks later and it was in one of the, I think, second or third batches of startup showdown where it was still virtual at the time.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:15] And then has there been any part of going through that experience that’s been the most beneficial for you?
Logan Havern: [00:07:23] Yeah. So I think for me, one of the most beneficial parts of that was the Mentor Day. So being a part of a start up showdown and we got to meet with, I think in about 2 hours, four different industry mentors. Some had a bunch of experience in the startup space, others had more relevant experience in the sales space of selling enterprise software. So meeting those mentors and forming those connections was extremely valuable when we were an early stage startup, just trying to get our footing and get advice, get our place in the market. And the second piece that was really valuable was having the opportunity to pitch in front of a live panel of VCs in a live audience. So we had the chance to do that before. So it was great to get that feedback and understand, okay, how do we need to better tailor our pitch? Our presentation can explain our idea of data logs in a conformed understanding way for a larger audience.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:13] Now, as the founder was a difficult to build the team around you.
Logan Havern: [00:08:18] Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Definitely. So that’s been one of the most challenging pieces is how do we find the right technical talent to deliver a product that is very complex on the IT side? So we’re touching hundreds of different data warehouses by tools, which means dashboards that reporting plus additional tools in the data space. So finding that technical talent has definitely been a challenge for us, but we’ve been lucky to have some great partners from early on to help us source and find the right people for data logs.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:50] Now, any advice for other kind of founders out there on how to build a team that’s complementary and kind of shares the same vision?
Logan Havern: [00:09:00] Yeah. So I’d say never stop networking. So something we did early on that’s paid dividends now is just doing a lot of marketing and outreach on LinkedIn. So as first getting started with data logs, I’d basically add 100 relevant titles, leaders in the data space, a day message each one a personalize message individually, out of that 100, maybe five or ten people would get on a call with me just to kind of discuss what we’re building, share feedback. But through that process, I found some great mentors and that have helped us in these early stages. And now as we kind of grow and scale the company, they’re getting more involved. And eventually we love to have the opportunity to bring them on full time. And so I say my advice to other founders building is just network plays a very valuable role in your early stages of your startup, but that network you build initially can also impact later down the line as you are recruiting and raising funding and you never know who someone’s going to know.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:57] So how do you kind of vet these people, especially, you know, where everything is kind of virtual right now? How are you? Kind of. Checking out to make sure that they they are who they say they are and they can do what they say they can do.
Logan Havern: [00:10:14] Yes. So from a technical recruiting sense, we have pretty well put together a process around screening and understanding the technical skills of someone. I think there’s always a risk that maybe someone does great or has someone help them in that screening. But we normally start with kind of a four week trial period, paying someone before we bring them officially on full time. And that works has worked pretty well to make sure people who they are and can deliver on what they are saying are promising us. And then in terms of the mentor network and kind of fighting guidance and leadership for our startup, we’ve been fortunate we’re meeting people and as they invest more time with you, you can really see what is their interest in your company. Why are they helping out? Is this kind of a long term relationship? So just being consistent with those meetings and just meeting for someone four or five or six times, but really understanding why they’re interested and how they can help you and you can help them and how your interests align.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:13] So you mentioned that you built the first 1.0 version of this yourself. How has the kind of funding process gone for you right now? Is it still so? I know you’re working with the panoramic folks, but where are you at from a funding standpoint?
Logan Havern: [00:11:34] Yeah. So I guess to take you on kind of the full funding journey, initially I built that first version like we discussed myself, kind of packed it together in my spare time. After that, we grew to those users and then with that, I was able to raise us some small angel funding to help build out our enterprise version. So with that angel funding, we were able to basically find a pretty great initial team to start with. We worked with them the last nine months, building out our enterprise version of our product. So now after we had that ready, we did a couple POCs with some pretty massive companies, had them test, give feedback, figure out what it takes to convert them to a larger paying enterprise client. And then we actually just closed our PRE-SEED funding round and were accepted into an accelerator with Skydeck Berkeley. So our team is actually moving out to California this Saturday to continue working on data logs. So we just closed kind of our pre-seed round and then our targeting a larger seed round coming up in about six months.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:39] Exciting times. Exciting times. What do you think is your superpower as the leader of this organization?
Logan Havern: [00:12:48] Yeah, I’d say consistency is one of the biggest things. So building a startup is definitely going through a lot of ups and downs. Love one day five customers say, Hey, we want to go live on your platform, and then a few days later they might back out or whatever reasons they can’t. So I think staying positive, consistent, making sure everyone is aligned and on the same page with those overarching goals and not letting the day to day have major impacts on building our company. We have to always remember today, what is that long term vision? What are we working towards? What do we want to accomplish? So I think staying focused and maintaining that consistency of we’re not going to give up. We have the runway, we have the talent, the team to get there. We just need to keep driving and keep pushing. And I think we’ve done a great job of keeping our team motivated to be able to deliver on that in the future.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:37] Has there been a mentor or maybe another startup founder that has been kind of inspirational for you or has been kind of kind of showing you a path that maybe you’re trying to follow?
Logan Havern: [00:13:49] Yeah, that’s a really good question. So actually, to go back probably about five or six years ago, I was a college student at Texas A&M University, and I received a small grant from the National Science Foundation to begin working on kind of my first entrepreneurship idea. And with that, I was trying to build a biometrics compliance tool that I’m not going into the details of what I wanted to do, but it was a complicated idea. And this National Science Foundation grant basically allowed us to go talk to people and industry travel to conferences. And I met this one founder who was in his early stages there at the time. His name’s Panos. He runs a company called Zenas AI. And what they do is basically build smart cameras to track in retail stores or other areas people’s facial expressions, as well as things like happy, sad emotions where people are concentrating a store, what menu items are very advanced AI kind of vision technology. But he basically agreed from that initial project that I was working on to help us out be our mentor. And five, six years later, he’s still involved. I met with him just last week and to watch his journey from the early stages to now where he’s raising much larger amounts of money, building a team, building up products that’s extremely valuable, has been inspirational in my startup journey and. I was very lucky to find him kind of early on and have him stick through me now, five or six years later, where I’ve gone through a couple of iterations on products, ideas, but now I’m fully focused on data logs and Panos has been amazing to help me get there.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:27] Now, you mentioned that there’s been some, you know, ups and downs obviously throughout this process. But was there any time where you were at a kind of a go no go point where you were like, I don’t know if I can do this or, you know, this this challenge looks insurmountable. And then something happened that broke your way, that gave you the confidence to continue. Yeah, I’d.
Logan Havern: [00:15:50] Say we did have one of those moments probably about six months back. So I was working full time at JetBlue and I lost. All right. I left my job in August to focus on data logs full time and August 2021 and basically decided, okay, I’m going to give myself six months to close some enterprise clients. And around the five month mark, we had a lot of interest, but no one closing to actually move forward with those POCs. So that was kind of at a point where we were feeling, okay, we’re building this technology, getting interest, but no one’s closing. What do we do next? Ultimately, we need to make money to survive and continue kind of building this and kind of those last kind of two weeks that were like, okay, we have to make a decision coming up soon. We had one of our enterprise clients convert to a larger POC where they began testing using our product. And that was kind of that initial another area of validation we got. We’re like, okay, we’re really on to something here. We got to just keep pushing. There’s going to be more clients out there and then through more referrals, meeting more people, really glad that we stuck with it, didn’t falter and were able to keep our heads up and keep moving. Even though the sales cycle took much larger, longer and was a lot more challenging than we initially expected.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:03] Now that you’ve experienced kind of a bit of the entrepreneur life, a bit of the corporate life, is this entrepreneur life what you imagine is being a founder, what you imagined it would be?
Logan Havern: [00:17:17] Yeah, yeah. So I’d say it’s everything I imagined and more in terms of what I was expecting. I expected, of course, hard work, but really being able to make an impact and drive and create something and I think that’s what matters to me at the end of the day is I want to create a product that people want to use that adds real value and being able to see our work and our hard work and consistency to meet that and make that happen has been amazing. And from the start that was the goal and still is today is how can we build something useful to the most people?
Lee Kantor: [00:17:49] Now. Do you have any advice for other folks that are either thinking about becoming a startup founder or at maybe the early stages of their journey? Yeah.
Logan Havern: [00:18:03] So my advice would be just to get started and do whatever you can to kind of put your minimum viable product, your version 1.0 out there to the world. If I didn’t take kind of the time to build out our initial version, I use the no code platform bubble of drag and drop coding. Our journey never would have been started, and we never know how far we could potentially get. So I’d say, do everything you can to get that first version out to the world and then start talking to people, talk to customers, get feedback, figure out, Hey, would you pay for this? Yes. No, but sticking with it, because that journey to find product market fit takes time. So from your initial version to actually scaling your startup, I read articles that say this can take anywhere from six months to two and a half years, but just knowing in the back of your mind, Hey, I got started, I built this, I’m getting feedback, improving day over day and having that is the hardest part is just getting started.
Lee Kantor: [00:18:55] Yeah, you have to take action and you have to get it out of your head into the marketplace and let kind of the market help you shape it.
Logan Havern: [00:19:03] Exactly. Exactly.
Lee Kantor: [00:19:05] So what do you need more of? How can we help?
Logan Havern: [00:19:09] Yeah. So right now we’re just trying to get our platform out to the world. So we have a SAS version online. If you go to our website data logs, I would love for you to check it out or share with any data people you know who might be interested.
Lee Kantor: [00:19:24] And then who is that ideal profile for your, for the user of of data logs.
Logan Havern: [00:19:30] Yeah. So any data analyst, data scientist, business analyst who at their company has no central source for data documentation, we’re solving that problem. So we’re one cloud based location where you can document, discover and fully understand your data. So basically individual contributors on data teams are our ideal customer prospect that we’re targeting.
Lee Kantor: [00:19:53] And that’s data logs that IO catalogs dot IO.
Logan Havern: [00:19:59] Yes, correctly.
Lee Kantor: [00:20:01] Well, Logan, thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing important work and we appreciate you.
Logan Havern: [00:20:07] Thank you. We really appreciate your time as well.
Lee Kantor: [00:20:09] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We’ll see y’all next time on Startup Showdown.
Intro: [00:20:14] As always, thanks for joining us. And don’t forget to follow and subscribe to the Startup Showdown podcast. So you get the latest episode as it drops wherever you listen to podcasts to learn more and apply to our next startup Showdown Pitch Competition Visit Showdown Dot VC. That’s Showdown Dot VC. That’s all for this week. Goodbye for now.