Virtual Valley

  • In-Q-Tel
  • Challenge

    Nonprofit venture capital firm In-Q-Tel needed a way to improve the usability of their vast data set of technology startups around the world.

  • Solution

    Create a powerful front-end interface using React.js and D3 that pulls data from a home-grown API built on Go and ElasticSearch to provide fast search results and useful data visualizations.

  • Results

    An intuitive application that distills complex and fluid information into a critical research tool that can reveal innovation and investment trends.

Searching for innovation. Government-funded venture capital firm In-Q-Tel is in the business of finding companies that have high potential for aiding national security. With a large amount of dynamic data to search through, they found that their software tool, Virtual Valley, needed an efficiency boost. We took the product’s back-end technology and front-end interface to the next level by ramping up quickly on their datasets, then nimbly designing and building substantial new features and UI updates. With this new infrastructure in place, the In-Q-Tel team was well-positioned both to add functionality in the future and to receive buy-in from investors.

  • Back-End Development Paying Off Technical Debt

    When we got started, the existing version of Virtual Valley was merging data from a number of different repositories, each with a discrete data set. We cleaned up these repos to make processing data, and therefore the product itself, work much more efficiently. This included unifying naming mechanisms and categorizing searchable fields to form a solid foundation for future functionality.

  • Product Design Rapid Feature Development

    With a new and improved back-end, we were able to progress quickly to design and develop front-end features and integrate them into the product. These improvements included implementing ElasticSearch and React.js to speed the search process and designing an appealing new user interface to display results.

  • User Interface Design New Ways to Visualize

    We wanted to make Virtual Valley both more useful and more enjoyable for the VCs using it as their primary research tool. After paving the way to improved search functionality with ElasticSearch, we focused on creating interactive visualizations for the different types of data the tool provides. Users can search and browse data based on criteria from region to technology.


We dramatically increased the pace of feature development and design updates for venture capital nonprofit In-Q-Tel’s startup research tool by cleaning up the product’s back-end systems while building an efficient and intuitive front-end.