Whenever someone Tweets, posts a photo or video on Facebook, or uses their GPS-enable mobile device to get directions, they're creating data. Data is proliferating so quickly, that IBM estimates 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the past two years alone.
Mining this data for new insights and undiscovered relationships has created demand for new software and solutions.
Market research firm Gartner expects that "big data" will drive $28 billion in IT spending worldwide this year and $34 billion next year. (Read More: Playing With Big Data.)
"Despite the hype, big data is not a distinct, standalone market, but represents an industry-wide market force which must be addressed in products, practices and solution delivery," Mark Beyer, research vice president at Gartner, said in a press release.
Many big software stalwarts like SAP, Oracle, IBM and Teradata have been busy investing in their own big data solutions. SAP told CNBC last month that the three emerging technologies of cloud computing, mobility and big data are all growing triple digits.
Adobe Systems is even looking to become the big data company for digital marketers. "As hundreds of billions of dollars moves online, we're the company that helps create that content, deliver that content and help monetize that content," CEO Shantanu Narayen told CNBC last month. (Read More: How Adobe Wants to Transform Digital Marketing.)
Narayen added that the next generation of marketing will leverage existing creative content, but it will need to be influenced by data analysis to improve the return on investments.
While the big companies have been staking ground in this emerging market, that hasn't scared off entrepreneurs. (Read More: 10 Ideas That Made $100 Million.)
Data Collective, a venture capital firm focused on big data investments, is "pretty psyched" about the emerging big data investment opportunities, co-founders Matt Ocko and Zachary Bogue told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Thursday.
Most of the investments they are making are in enterprise big data companies.
"We see a lot more big data plays that are sold into big corporations," Bogue noted. "That said, if we do see an interesting application that sits on top of a really interesting data set with interesting analytics that does apply to consumers, we'll make an investment there."
But before it invests, Data Collective takes a "religious" approach to the technology. "If the technology is not there, it's not an investment for Data Collective," he said.
Although many of Data Collective's investments are in enterprise-focused companies, Ocko highlighted areas where big data is driving some fascinating intersections of enterprise and consumer applications. (Read More: What Disruptors Need to Attract Capital.)
One of its investments is able to take the random DNA snippets generated by DNA sequencing machines and turn it into "a very ordered, extremely accurate map" of someone's genome, Ocko said. "The data is so accurate, before parents have children they can understand exactly how their child might turn out," he said.
Ocko said that data can be used to improve the health of millions of people around the world.
—By CNBC.com's Justin Menza