This article was written by Phin Upham
Prior to 1966, before the computer movement, there was no method of performing statistical analysis at a massive scale. The US Department of Agriculture was developing the means to gather this intelligence, but had few applications for it and almost no method of finding actionable data.
SAS was developed as a piece of software that could be used in advanced business analytics and predictive analysis. It is a program that was first built at North Carolina State University in 1966, and continued until 1976 when the group developing SAS decided to incorporate. The program was headed by Jim Goodnight and Jim Barr, faculty members of NCSU.
Most of the group’s funding came from the National Institute of Health, but that funding was discontinued in 1972. So the founders agreed to each chip in $5,000, giving the company the cash injection it needed to get off the ground.
SAS mines data, and manages large volumes for the purpose of competitive analysis. It draws from a variety of sources, performing a real-time statistical analysis of the data and helping to form actionable conclusions. It targeted universities and government organizations at first, and organized a software conference to debut their products and discuss innovations. The first was held in 1976, and it was an indication that the company would be a success.
The original project was meant to measure the economic activity of agriculture. SAS expanded as the software was found to meet the needs of companies like pharmaceuticals and banks.
About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Twitter page.