Dataiku gets $28 million for “mission to grow data community”

David Reed, director of research and editor-in-chief, DataIQ

Collaborative data science platform developer Dataiku has closed a $28 million Series B funding round which will see it hire up to 100 new staff and double its presence in the UK. Spending plans are intended to maintain the year-on-year doubling in revenues which it has enjoyed since starting up in 2014.

Jennifer Roubaud, Dataiku“The new round reflects confidence from new and existing investors and reflects our growth, which is pretty awesome,” Jennifer Roubaud, VP for UK and Ireland, told DataIQ. “We are going to be working on expanding the Dataiku community and the entire data community worldwide. It is really a mission.”

The funding round was led by Battery Ventures and supported by existing investors FirstMark, Serena Capital and Alven. “Data science is no longer a niche subsector of analytics like it was 20 years ago,” said Neeraj Agrawal, general partner at Battery Ventures. “It has become mission-critical to all types of businesses.”

“The problem is that there are still a limited number of people with true technical, data science capabilities. Our work over the last year has led us to conclude that Dataiku’s approach is the right one for many enterprises in the market: The Data Science Studio product enables technical data scientists to work alongside data analysts to help build and deploy models into productions. We feel that a platform that allows users of different skill sets to work together is the future of data science products,” said Agrawal.

Dataiku is now in hiring mode across the board as it looks to find data scientists, sales engineers, customer success managers and lead generation marketers. Since entering the UK market last year, the company has had success in the banking, insurance, retail, ecommerce and transportation sectors, but resource constraints have prevented it from tackling other verticals, With additional resources, it expects to find significant new growth and also to build a partner programme among consultancy firms. 

Finding data scientists is one of the challenges which the developer’s platform is intended to help ease. “Many of our clients have been doing data science with one or two practitioners - or even none - but what they need is a collaborative platform to democratise data science. You do need data scientists, but to be successful and impact on the bottom line you also need a team with different skills sets, including lines of business, data analysts and so on,” said Roubaud.

One Dataiku client in the UK has rolled out the platform to 250 users bringing them together around data-oriented issues and resolving them. “That is why we think we are just at the beginning of things in the UK. You can do amazing things with data science and not get buy-in from the line of business if it means nothing to them,” she said. “Even if you have got the people and skills to do amazing things, that doesn’t mean data science is embedded in the mindset of the business.”

To help with this spreading out of data science across businesses, Dataiku is embarking on a programme of meet-ups, academic outreach into universities and start-up accelerators. Roubaud said: “We want to grow the entire data community because we think data science is here to stay and has a central role to play in the world.”