Founders Den co-founder and angel investor Zachary Bogue has joined forces with seasoned big data VC Matt Ocko, Metamarkets founder Michael Driscoll and Prismatic CEO Bradford Cross to launch Data Collective, the world’s first Big Data-only early stage investment fund.
The two Data Collective managing partners, who are currently raising fund number two, tell me that the timing is right for a fund committed exclusively to Big Data companies, as the barriers to entry in launching these sorts of startups are only getting lower.
Data Collective has already made 46 investments from its first fund, which it calls “comparable with other seed and early stage funds” (Ocko and Bogue wouldn’t reveal fund size.)
These investments include Kaggle, a startup that compels engineers to compete against each other in order to solve “hard problems,” and Continuuity, Parse, Pushd and Citus Data. The partners are currently in the middle of successfully raising their second fund.
“We see Big Data as the same rich and long-term opportunity that ‘IT’ was broadly in the 1970s and early 1980s when great VC funds (e.g, KPCB, Sequoia) developed their core IT investment practices,” Ocko tells me, “It’s driving the same kind of multi-hundred-billion dollar economic transformation.”
He goes on, “If we and other investors in this space do our jobs, in 15 years the terms ‘IT’ and ‘Big Data’ are pretty much synonymous.”
Data Collective prides itself on its deeply technical core team, and the Big Data chops of its extended group of 35 equity partners, who, while Data Collective wouldn’t reveal specific names, all work or have worked at companies like Akamai, Zynga, LinkedIn, Apple, Facebook, Salesforce, Twitter, IBM, Citrix, Airbnb and VMware.
The fund views its portfolio startups as fulfilling one of the three layers of the “Big Data stack”:
1. The enabling infrastructure level (the storage, security, and management systems necessary to deal with petabytes of data across thousands of machines and millions of interested parties) ;
2. Analytics (the software tools and services necessary to get intelligent , accurate, and actionable analysis out of petabytes of data in minutes instead of weeks) ; and
3. The top layer of applications and services that use the innovations of the first two layers to transform vertical markets (e.g, lending at disruptively low APRs, discount travel that works for both the airline and the passenger, improving hiring outcomes while empowering employees to more actively manage their careers and job satisfaction, transforming medical research by watching a person or even a plant’s genome express itself from day to day).
“Data Collective are enthusiastic, smart and well-connected investors who never say no to any request,” says Kaggle founder Anthony Goldbloom on why he’s happy with their investment, “We’re particularly grateful to them because they introduced us to our Chief Revenue Officer, a position that would otherwise have been difficult to fill. When we first moved to San Francisco, they helped us find office space, introduced us to investors and worked with us on architecting a successful Series A.”
With a two-decade track record of 40 material exits and significant up-rounds between the two managing partners, Bogue and Ocko are uniquely qualified to help data storage, security and analytics tech. “We’ve been working on Big Data since before it was a term,” Ocko says.