Founded in Cambridge, MA in 2011, our mission is more data-driven aha-moments, and we believe interoperability, modularity, and community make them happen. So we intentionally depart from traditional business intelligence and dashboard-based approaches to data. Engineers and Data Scientists use the Exaptive Studio for rapid data application development, enabling end-users to follow their cognitive processes and the iterative insights that lead to discovery.  

“At Exaptive, we think less about giving people reports or dashboards, and more about giving them tools to explore a complex data landscape,” says co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Dave King. “Whether it’s the human genome or it’s the financial markets, people want a different interaction paradigm, to look in different directions and from different perspectives as their mind dictates.”


Exaptive is also about community and combinatory play. It was Albert Einstein who said, “Combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought.” This is the thinking behind our Xap Store, the “app store for data applications,” and the Cognitive Network, which connects users to new techniques and people based on what they do in the Exaptive environment.

By creating a software ecosystem in which such cognitive boundary crossing and code repurposing is not just left to chance, but actively facilitated, Exaptive is building a productive programming playground with the power to enable users’ creativity and their potential for discovery.

Exaptive is named for the natural phenomenon, exaptation, in which a trait adapted for one purpose is repurposed with big evolutionary implications, like feathers, which originally evolved because they kept reptiles warm but were exapted for flight. This phenomenon also applies to innovation. Insight in one field is often inspired by techniques from another, like Gutenberg inventing the printing press after seeing a wine press.

Exaptive is built to enable these kinds of breakthroughs with data.

  • Could Nobel Prize-winning Feynman diagrams be used in economics or genetics?
  • Could social network diagrams be used to illuminate other types of “relationships”?
  • Could new geoinformatics techniques for building maps of Earth hold new potential for building maps of chromosomes?

What will you discover with Exaptive?