Infoactive, the upstart web app where users can create fully customized, interactive infographics, is taking the tech world by storm. Infoactive grew as a part of the Montreal-based FounderFuel accelerator, won the Best Bootstrap Company award at SXSW 2013, and is nearing the end of an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, which concludes on December 18, 2013. As of Monday, Dec. 16, the campaign had well over 1,000 backers and had raised more than quadruple its $12,000 goal. At its core, Infoactive is a beautiful and simple way to bring data to life. After linking data via Google Spreadsheet or CSV, Infoactive automatically generates infographics that can be further customized using different themes, styles, charts, graphs, and icons. The platform is ideal for creating sharp infographics based on surveys, polls, or any other constantly changing data. What’s more, these infographics are fully interactive, allowing users to filter based on any parameter in the dataset. Trina Chiasson, Infoactive’s Founder and CEO, began working on what would become Infoactive after finding it difficult to create custom infographics for a project she was working on for a nonprofit. “I was inspired by infographics and data storytelling, but I found that building infographics was extremely cumbersome,” Chiasson told Visual.ly. “I remember working on a few different reports where we had nonprofit campaign data coming from a few of different sources — Google Analytics, SurveyMonkey, social networks, and our own database, to name a few. I had figured out a painful process of exporting CSVs, manipulating them in Excel, importing them into Illustrator, tweaking the design in Photoshop, and then placing the finished graphics into static PDFs. Every time a number changed (which happened a lot), I had to run through that data extraction and design process all over again.” In the spring of 2012, Chiasson was working as a freelance web consultant but was ready to begin a larger project when the idea behind Infoactive struck her. She honed the idea, developed a pitch, and began spreading word among friends and colleagues. The feedback was remarkable. “I started talking to people about the concept, and I was getting a lot of positive responses in casual conversation. I had never built a software company before, so I began looking for people who could help me get the project off the ground. I randomly pitched the idea at a Startup Weekend, and I was suddenly surrounded by a crowd of about 20 people who were excited to build Infoactive. Eight of us worked on the project through the weekend, and then two of us chose to dedicate our full-time attention to our new venture.” Chiasson teamed up with Daniel Roberts, who became Infoactive’s Co-Founder and CTO. The duo worked tirelessly over the past year and a half to bring Infoactive from conception to reality. The Infoactive Kickstarter quickly reached the project’s original goal to launch the public beta, and has since met two stretch goals – adding 5 new visualization types and a library of icons. Early backers currently have access to the private beta and the public beta is set to launch this spring. Chiasson, who is also a fellow at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri, sees Infoactive as a tool that can greatly benefit journalists. But, she added, “data journalists aren’t the only ones who want to share information in a visual form. Part of our mission at Infoactive is to make interactive data graphics more accessible for small newsrooms, nonprofits, students, and others who have important information to share, but few resources to create robust visualizations.” With the aid of Infoactive, these groups can avoid the difficult and arduous tasks of manually analyzing data, writing code, and creating content. This leaves more time for “spotting visual patterns and making connections to the underlying data trends,” said Chiasson. The Infoactive Kickstarter closes at 9 PM on Wednesday, Dec 18 – so act quickly to become an early backer. For more information, follow Infoactive on Twitter – @InfoActive – or shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jon Salm is an associate client analyst at Millward Brown Digital in New York City and a freelance data journalist in the Visual.ly marketplace. He has a bachelor’s degree in English from Washington and Lee University. You can find him online at about.me/salm.jon and follow him on twitter @S4LM3R.
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