User Stories

Ugly Research uses Linkurious to turn data into decisions

March 2, 2015

Ugly Research uses Linkurious to help decision makers understand complex data.

Ugly Research needed a way to interact with Neo4j visually

Ugly Research is a California tech company developing PepperSlice, a next-generation dashboard for C-level executives. It uses the Neo4j graph database to store data and deliver insights.


“Designing and developing our graph application was taking too much time. The tools we used forced us to constantly write code and made it difficult to interact with our data” said Tracy Altman, the CEO of Ugly Research.


As a small team working on an innovative product, Ugly Research needed to quickly iterate on its product.

Combining Linkurious and Neo4j

Tracy Altman set out to find a better way to explore the data she was working with. “We discovered Gephi, an open-source graph visualization tool.” It gave Ugly Research the ability to visualize its data. That ability proved important for PepperSlice engineering team to understand its data model and communicate with stakeholders.


“However, we needed something more than the static environment of Gephi. When we found that Linkurious allowed us to visualize our Neo4j data and interact with it, I knew it would help us build our product faster” explains Tracy Altman.

Linkurious helps design faster

Now Ugly Research uses Linkurious, the graph visualization software, to work with Neo4j. When the software engineers at Ugly Research are developing, they can quickly access a node or a property via a search menu. They can visualize their data and create, edit, or delete nodes and relationships in a few clicks.

Tracy Allison Altman, PhD – Founder of Ugly Research

“Now working with Neo4j is easier than ever. We like Cypher, but it’s nice to be able to create nodes and relationships without typing a single line of code. The ability to do that while looking at the data is even better” says Tracy Altman. “Linkurious helps us visualize and edit our Neo4j database without coding and it simply works out of the box.”

What’s next for Ugly Research

Currently Ugly Research is launching PepperSlice, which curates data specifically for C-Suite decision makers. In PepperSlice, an executive can ask questions and get answers on demand. These answers always include two things: concrete supporting data, and expert explanations of that data presented in a straightforward way.

Visualizing some of Facebook’s acquisitions.

For example, a Director of Human Resources might ask “Do corporate wellness programs save employers money?” PepperSlice will present a set of curated answers from experts offering wellness program data, along with explanations. This gives decision makers the data-driven answers they need, in a format that speaks their language. At the same time, PepperSlice gives researchers, analysts, and data scientists a practical way to share findings with a wider network of executives.


For Tracy Altman, “the combination of Neo4j and Linkurious is ideal for capturing, discovering, and displaying relationships that are important to C-level executives”.

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