In-Q-Tel boosts data-analysis prowess with RedOwl funding

Intelligence agencies from the CIA to the National Security Agency have huge quantities of data to parse through, and picking up on abnormalities amid all of it isn’t easy. In-Q-Tel, the investment firm aimed at helping the U.S. intelligence community, apparently wants to do something about that. It has entered into a strategic partnership with RedOwl Analytics and has also invested in the company, according to a statement from RedOwl.

RedOwl didn’t say how much money it’s picking up through the deal, which is typical for deals In-Q-Tel gets involved in. The company previously picked up $100,000 through the InvestMaryland Challenge, and it has raised a seed round of funding from private investors.

RedOwl, founded in 2011 and based in Baltimore, boasts of founders with extensive experience working with intelligence agencies. At one point co-founder and CEO Guy Filippelli was special assistant to the director of the NSA, and before starting RedOwl he co-founded Berico Technologies, which provides data analysis and visualization tools for government use. Renny McPherson, another co-founder and the vice president of strategy and business development at RedOwl, was a Marine Corps intelligence officer.

The company has developed a system named Reveal for identifying unusual behaviors within phone calls, emails and other forms of information in near-real-time. The application can run on premises or in clouds, McPherson said. It can be used to spot employees who increase a company’s risk by not meeting regulatory requirements or show when employees start referring to certain people more frequently in emails. A New York hedge fund is an initial pilot client, using the software to ensure compliance with regulations from the the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, McPherson said.


Reveal sounds like it could pair well with technology from a company In-Q-Tel backed earlier this year, Narrative Science. The Quill product from Narrative Science ingests lots of data and then produces summaries full of facts culled from the data. Perhaps Reveal and Quill could be blended in some fashion, to churn out stories only on the strange occurrences emerging in data. Or perhaps they will be kept apart. In any case, the RedOwl deal proves the point that even data that’s big and varied might not be enough to deliver value.

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock user Sergey Lavrentev.