A startup that helps companies organize and use stored data just raised $112.5 million — and it shows how hot the market is as corporations pursue digital overhauls

Felix Van de Maele

  • Companies are struggling to organize and use their stored data to power new, AI-based applications. So many are turning to vendors like Collibra. 
  • On Thursday, Collibra announced it had raised $112.5 million in funding, bringing its total valuation to $2.3 billion. 
  • While IT budgets are getting slashed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, CEO Felix Van de Maele says demand for services like Collibra’s will continue. 
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

Companies are undergoing major internal efforts to organize their stored data to comply with new laws and harness information to power new artificial intelligence-based applications. 

But enterprises often store data in silos, and they haven’t historically had standard policies for formatting it— which makes using it in any meaningful way very difficult. And many aren’t even aware of how much or what data they have stored away.

It’s a key reason why digital initiatives fail within organizations. And that’s why many are turning to vendors to help catalog data as a critical first step in their digital transformation plans.  

As evidence of the demand for services to help with this undertaking, Collibra raised $112.5 million in its latest funding round, according to a Thursday announcement, bringing the data platform startup’s overall valuation to $2.36 billion. 

Companies are realizing they “need to have better control over their data,” CEO Felix Van de Maele told Business Insider. “The acceleration that we are going to see with respect to digital transformation, doing that in a trustworthy way is going to be really important.”

Van de Maele said most organizations don’t even contact Collibra until after they fail in their initial attempts at harnessing machine-learning to automate tasks or improve operations. 

“It’s not typically something that people start with. It’s only when they realize it’s important and they can’t get to the outcome they want to without that strong foundation in place,” he said. 

‘Data is only going to become more important’

Collibra began its latest fundraising round in January, before the full impact of the coronavirus hit the US.

The amount puts the company in a strong position to weather the ongoing turmoil, according to Van de Maele, and to capitalize on an expected push by corporations to amplify their tech overhaul efforts post-pandemic. 

“Data is only going to become more important, even in these difficult times,” he said. 

Collibra’s platform creates a data supply chain of sorts. Among other things, the system helps identify all the different data assets across the enterprise and connect them together. 

It also allows corporations to specify who can access which information, an important feature as new data privacy laws put pressure on companies to ensure that is being used appropriately. 

So, similar to how companies rely on Salesforce to manage their sales teams, businesses are increasingly employing Collibra and other vendors in a similar manner to oversee their data and how it’s used enterprise-wide. 

Most of the large banks, for example, rely on Collibra to make sure they are complying with regulations put in place after the Great Recession. And now, as more seek to move their data into the cloud, Collibra is helping to prioritize which areas to start with and with making sure the transfer goes smoothly. 

And while chief information officers are under pressure right now to cut spending due to the financial impact of the coronavirus, the outbreak is also highlighting just how critical digital tools are, and even accelerating efforts to upgrade technology. 

That’s one reason why Van de Maele said he believes business will remain strong despite the economic headwinds. “We’re probably going to see impacts on budgets for sure, but it’s the only way forward,” he said.

SEE ALSO: How a secretive AI startup is helping corporations manage the dramatic increase in customer-service calls from the coronavirus pandemic

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 6 creative strategies to deal with student loan debt



Live Updates COVID-19 CASES