While working on an update to the Sacramento Startup and Innovation Ecosystem Circuit Board awhile back and looking for alternative ways to visually represent the information, a friend asked if I had tried Kumu. I hadn’t ever heard of it before so I checked it out. Kumu is a visual data platform that allows you to map and organize complex information into interactive relationship maps.

Based on what I saw, I was intrigued enough to sign up and check it out. Not being one for reading the documentation first I dove right in and started playing around with Kumu. My first attempt was a new way to depict the Sacramento Startup Ecosystem diagram. For that, I’ve created an interactive map using SVG and JS to show the players in the ecosystem. But this has become laborious to change and update so I was looking for alternatives. The resulting relationship map in Kumu was pretty cluttered and didn’t seem any more enlightening to me than my original and it wasn’t immediately intuitive to me to create it so I abandoned it after playing with it for a couple of hours.

But that time spent was enough to give me a sense that this could be a very nice tool to add to my data viz tool kit. So, a week or two later, feeling a bit more patient, I read through some of the documentation and watched some of the videos before trying it out. This modest time investment in the documentation was enough to gain a better understanding and quickly learn that putting my data into a spreadsheet and importing that would be a better way to go.

This time I tried a new topic, an interactive relationship map of the community landscape of Sacramento startups who have presented at 1 Million Cups Sacramento, organized by their industry and highlighting those that have a female founder or co-founder. You can see the resulting map embedded below.

Each of the larger hub circles below represents and industry vertical or category. Categories include:

  • Clean Tech & Energy
  • Food & Ag
  • Health, Medical, Wellness
  • Education
  • Financial Services
  • Supply Chain Services
  • Information/Communication Tech
  • Other Technology
  • Other

The smaller “satellite” circles off of each hub represent startups that have presented so far at 1 Million Cups Sacramento and are linked to the industry that they’re startup is in. These smaller circles are color-coded, with the pink circles representing startups who have female founders or cofounders.

Explore the visualization below by zooming in and out and clicking on a startup’s circle to see a description of the startup along with a link to their website. You can also visit it on the Kumu site.

Based on my experience creating this relationship map, I’m pretty hooked on using Kumu and I’m looking forward to exploring more of its functionality since I think I’ve just scratched the surface. Kudos to Kumu for creating such a cool data viz tool. If you’re looking for a tool that makes it easy to organize complex data into relationship maps that are beautiful to look at and a pleasure to use, definitely give Kumu a try. And, make sure to spend a little time checking their examples, their video tutorials, and their extensive documentation.