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How Two College Students Found a Niche in Custom Web Analytics Two ASU students prove that there is much more to analytics than page views. Billions more.

By Joel Holland

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The average student sees an internship as an opportunity to earn credits, gain experience and penetrate social circles that may lead to referrals or future entry-level positions. But Suhail Doshi, the 22-year-old co-founder of San Francisco analytics company Mixpanel, is far from average.

In 2008, following his sophomore year at Arizona State University, Doshi interned at Slide, a developer of social media apps. His stint there resulted in a business idea--and an investor.

As an intern, Doshi became increasingly aware that companies such as Slide, Facebook and social media game maker Zynga all shared a common burden: the need to build custom analytics in-house, because existing alternatives didn't meet their needs.

While services like Google Analytics worked fine for tracking traditional usage metrics, Doshi realized that the new crop of social media, online gaming and application development companies needed a way to measure user engagement and interaction, not just page views. This discovery turned a conventional internship into a commercial idea.

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