Investments

Investment Normalizes And Trifacta Funds Up For Expansion

The era of big data is a dual-sided promise and problem coin for those who try to leverage it to build their bottom line. The good news is that through the combined power of cloud processing, mobile technology and an increasingly ubiquitously digitally enabled landscape, it is possible for business of all stripes to have access to types of data sets they’ve never seen before. And that offers all kinds of opportunities: better back end management, better customer acquisition and maintenance, better payment systems, and operations that on the whole run more efficiently.  

The bad news is that all of those good things are only maybes. They are all predicated not only on having more data, but also on having the right data and interpreting it correctly.

And this is where the rapid proliferation of data harvesting opportunities gets a little tricky. In some sense, building a better operational plan through big data insights is something like trying to find a needle in a haystack — which means just adding more hay, or raw data, isn’t really helpful at all.  

This is where Trifacta says that their skills as a data cleaning firm come into play.

The firm specializes in taking in various disparate enterprise data streams, cleaning them up and then finding ways to make it play nicely with other data. Once the data’s been scrubbed, sorted and contextualized, it is handed off to an end user — a presumably non-technical employee who cares less about the minutiae than the takeaways.  

Trifacta, of course, isn’t the only firm in the data cleaning line of business. Trifacta joins Paxata and several Bay Area startups who see gold in being clean, well data that is. But Trifacta says it has a secret sauce that it brings to the table — and that’s machine learning. The more data it sees, and the more businesses it sees it from, the more it learns about how to structure and prioritize data for users.  

And those learning algorithms are seeing some pretty interesting, and big, data sets, given the firm’s rather impressive roster of clients that includes Cisco, GoPro, Juniper, Kaiser Permanente, McKesson, PepsiCo, Pfizer, and Procter & Gamble — to name a few of the more luminary of their 50 or so enterprise customers.   

“2015 was a breakout year for Trifacta, from customer wins with companies like Kaiser Permanente, Juniper Networks, TeliaSonera and Royal Bank of Scotland, to an expanded partnership with Cloudera, to recognition by key industry analysts as the leader in data preparation,” noted Adam Wilson, CEO at Trifacta. “With the significant data challenges facing organizations today, it’s great to see thousands of companies turning to Trifacta to enable their end users to wrangle data of all shapes and sizes.”

Equally great, no doubt, is seeing the investors turn to Trifacta as the future of curated big data — a reality confirmed this week with the announcement that they had bagged $35 million in funding in a round with participation from existing investors Accel Partners, Greylock Partners, Ignition Partners and new investor, Cathay Innovation.

“Trifacta has created the way organizations are unlocking the value of their diverse, complex data by empowering non-technical users to discover, cleanse and blend information themselves,” said Frank Artale, managing partner at Ignition Partners. “We’re excited about the tremendous momentum Trifacta has built today and are looking forward to accelerating that success in Europe and Asia with the help of Cathay Innovation.”

“Trifacta’s disruptive approach to data wrangling has cemented their position as the leader in the category,” said Denis Barrier, co-founder of Cathay Innovation. “We are delighted to be able to leverage Cathay’s extensive network in Europe and Asia to support Trifacta in delivering their innovative technology to customers around the globe.”

The investment from Cathay comes at a pivotal time for Trifacta, as the firm is now moving to advance its worldwide operations. Currently the firm has offices in Berlin and London, though it anticipates much great European expansion in the next year. Trifacta will also build an increased operational presence in Asia.   

A spokesperson for the firm also confirmed that Trifacta’s focus going forward will be on helping enterprise customers better develop capacity to manage and capitalize on the coming wave of Internet-enabled appliances and automobiles that they, and their investors, believe is just around the corner.

“The multibillion-dollar big data and IoT revolution requires a modern, innovative approach to preparing data and empowering end users,” said Ping Li, partner at Accel and director of the Big Data Fund. “Trifacta delivers that platform. We’ve backed Trifacta’s incredible team from the beginning and are excited to help the company scale to take advantage of this significant market opportunity.”

All in, Trifacta has raised $75 million. Their last big round was for $25 million in 2014. 

Investment For 2-10-16

It looks like investment activity may be returning to a more normalized level, if the first week of February is any indication.

The total fund flows for the period that ended on Feb. 5 showed total movement of $730 million, and dare we say it, yet again FinTech dominated the investing landscape. The days of billion-dollar deals – as seen just last week – could they be an aberration?

Too early to tell, of course, as we are only a few weeks into 2016. But the biggest deal of the week comes to Symantec, as the Norton antivirus maker said last week that it has received a $500 million investment from Silver Lake, a firm that tends to put money up when it sees a company with promise that nonetheless has not curried investors’ favor. Silver Lake has made the investment on a strategic basis, gaining a board seat along with that capital infusion. Quite a stretch from that three-digit deal to the $70 million that alternative lender Credibly scored as a credit facility led by SunTrust Bank last week. There’s a contingency in place that would allow for an additional $30 million to be lent (should the demand be there), with a possible total commitment of $100 million. Moving into the bitcoin realm, Blockstream gathered up $55 million in funding, among the largest tallies within the virtual currency’s history. The roster of investors included Horizons Ventures, a venture capital firm guided by Li Ka-shing, a notable Hong Kong investor, who also secured a seat on the company’s board. The Top 5 investments in the week are broken down below.

This time around, it’s worth noting that while past weeks (and months) have seen a plethora of activity outside the U.S., some scale actually returned here, outsized though the Symantec deal may be.

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