In recent years, there's been an explosion of tools that allow businesses to connect, transform, analyze and serve data from all kinds of sources. Combined with the increasing pressure on businesses to digital transform their operations, this can lead to a patchwork of solutions that aren't easy to maintain or scale. Research from Forrester estimates that 73% of company data is unused and never analyzed, while another study found that 69% of business executives had failed to create "data-driven" organizations.
A partial solution could lie in software designed for data management. Plenty exist, but the latest to attract funding is Ataccama, which today announced that it raised $150 million from Bain Capital Tech Opportunities -- representing a minority investment in the company. A source familiar with the matter tells TechCrunch that the round values Ataccama at $550 million.
Founded in 2007, Ataccama develops data governance, data catalog, data quality and data management capabilities for enterprises.
"Ataccama’s growth potential can be quickly accelerated by scaling up the go-to-market functions (brand, marketing, sales, customer success, etc.) -- that’s the first area where part of the funds will be directed," CEO Michal Klaus told TechCrunch in an email interview. "A second big opportunity is continuing product innovation, focused on bridging the gap between data democratization and the need for centralized data governance and data quality management. The third area … is tighter integrations with major data processing platforms such as Snowflake, Databricks and others."
Ataccama is a spin-off from the data integration systems integrator Adastra. According to Klaus, the founders -- David Holes, Jan Mrazek, Jan Cervinka, Petr Jech and himself -- were seeing data-quality issues in their data integration projects that lead to delays or failures to deliver desired business outcomes for customers. After creating a proof-of-concept product within Adastra, the team decided the opportunity was significant enough to start a dedicated, product-focused company: Ataccama.
Ataccama's platform falls under the category of "data fabric," a combination of technologies that help to identify, connect, clean and enrich data to uncover the relationships between data points. Among other services, Ataccama provides data quality checks, monitoring and remediation. The platform can automatically discover data across a range of on-premises and public cloud sources as well as transform this data and capture or create metadata (e.g., lineage) from it.
Ataccama's backend management dashboard. Image Credits: Ataccama
Using Ataccama, users can import and establish business term definitions, access policies, data quality rules, data models and other metadata. Ataccama can process data formats to align around a common standard, continuously reporting the state of data for compliance with rules, aggregations and visualizations. (For example, an engineer might receive an alert like "Dataset contains a lot of invalid values" or "This dataset contains credit card information"). The platform can also attempt to add missing information from external data sources and reference data, filling out gaps in data sets.
"We use AI to enable both technical and non-technical users to find the data they need, understand it, and assess and improve its quality," Klaus said. "Business and government leaders know that data is a source of innovation and competitive advantage. At the same time, it's not possible or optimal to drive data-based innovation centrally. Rather, it needs to come from empowered teams and individuals -- they need to be able to have access to all kinds of data sources, and be allowed, or even encouraged, to use the data, process it, derive insights, build apps and more. This all represents a major compliance, security and governance risk."
Data fabric has its downsides -- chief among them implementation complexity. For example, data fabrics require exposing and integrating different data and systems, which can often format data differently. This lack of native interoperability can add friction like the need to harmonize and deduplicate data.
Moreover, Ataccama competes with formidable vendors in the pure-play data management space. Informatica is publicly traded, while Collibra recently raised $250 million to more than double its valuation. There's also Reltio, which hit $100 million in annual recurring revenue this year.
Klaus claims that Ataccama is a bootstrapped business that hadn't received any external investment up until this point. The company has approximately 200 corporate customers in banking, financial services, insurance, life sciences, healthcare and retail, with around 200 additional business-to-business customers using Ataccama technology provided via OEM partners.
"Ataccama has been operationally profitable since 2011, consistently generating positive cash flow and being able to invest in various growth or transformation initiatives. The growth has accelerated in the past 18 months with 86% annual recurring revenue growth year over year," Klaus said. "The pandemic itself initially slowed down company growth for about six months, but the pent-up demand for our technology compensated for that in the two quarters that followed. As for the slowdown in the economy, we are preparing for various scenarios but in general, the impact could potentially be that the projected growth might be slower. At the same time, we will continue investing in our product which will actually help organizations to work with greater efficiency due to automation."
Dewey Awad, a managing director at Bain Capital Tech Opportunities, added in an emailed statement:
It’s clear that businesses are prioritizing greater control over their data across hybrid and cloud environments, with the ability to derive deeper and more accurate insights from that data. This demand is occurring across the organization, requiring a data management system that is intuitive for employees across multiple functions and departments … We are excited to partner with [Klaus] and his team to double down on product innovation and go-to-market in order to accelerate the major whitespace opportunities they are seeing in nearly every industry.
In the next few months, Ataccama says that it plans to expand its workforce from 468 people to over 500.