Businesses and the tech companies that serve them are run on data. At best, it can be used to help with decision-making, to understand how well or badly an organization is doing and to build new systems to run the next generation of services. At its most challenging, though, data can represent a real headache: there is too much of it, in too many places, and too much of a task to bring it into any kind of order.
Enter a startup called Matillion, which has built a platform to help companies harness their data so that it can be used, and what’s more, the platform is not just for data scientists, but it’s written with a “low-code” approach that can be used by a wider group of users.
Today, it is announcing a big round of investment — $150 million at a $1.5 billion valuation — a sign not just of Matillion’s traction in this space, but of the market demand for the tech that it has built.
The company currently has “hundreds” of large enterprise customers, including Western Union, FOX, Sony, Slack, National Grid, Peet’s Coffee and Cisco for projects ranging from business intelligence and visualization through to artificial intelligence and machine learning applications.
General Atlantic is leading the funding, with Battery Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, Scale Venture Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners — some of the biggest enterprise startup investors in the world — also participating. Matillion last raised money — a Series D of around $100 million — as recently as February this year, at what was an undisclosed valuation at the time.
Announcing this latest round at a $1.5 billion valuation is significant not just for Matillion. The startup was founded in Manchester (it now also has a base in Denver), and this makes it one of a handful of tech startups out of the city — others we’ve recently covered include The Hut Group, Peak AI and Fractory — now hitting the big leagues and helping to put it on the innovation map as an urban center to watch.
Matthew Scullion, the startup’s CEO and founder, explained that the crux of the issue Matillion is addressing is the diamond-in-the-rough promise of big data. Typically, large organizations are producing giant amounts of data every day, hugely valuable information as long as it can be tapped efficiently. The problem is that this data is often sitting across a lot of different places — typically large organizations might have over 1,000 data sources, apps sitting across multiple clouds and servers and storage across Snowflake, Amazon Redshift and Databricks. On top of this, while a lot of that data is very structured, those sources are not necessarily aligned with each other.
“Data has become the new currency, and the world is pivoting to that,” he said. “It’s changing all aspects of how we work, and it is happening very fast. But the problem is that the world’s ability to innovate with data is constrained. It’s not the shortage of data or demand to put it to work, but the point is the world’s ability to make that data useful.”
Matillion has answered that with a framework and system that can both identify data sources and basically bring order to them, without needing to move the data from one place to another in order to be used. It’s an ETL (extract, transform and load) provider, and it is far from being the only one in the market, with others like Dataiku, Talent, SnapLogic, as well as cloud providers like AWS and Microsoft, among the many trying to address this area.
The difference with Matillion, Scullion said, is that it has a democratized platform, so that organizations don’t have to rely on data scientists to get involved in order to use it, by building a low-code interface around it.
“We have made it accessible, intuitive and easy to use by bringing in a low-code approach,” he said. “We’ve developed a platform and data operating system that has all the things in the kit bag that an organization needs to make it useful.”
This is important because, as big data analytics and the tools to build these processes become more mainstream and themselves take on low-code interfaces, Matillion is providing a way for those less technical users to source and use their data, too. This means more efficiency, less cost, and more time for data scientists to work on more difficult problems and do less busy work.
“As organizations look for ways to harness data to make better business decisions, the market for cloud data integration and transformation is expanding,” said Chris Caulkin, managing director and head of Technology for EMEA at General Atlantic. “We believe that Matillion’s low-code ETL platform simplifies the process of constructing data pipelines and preparing data for analysis, enabling citizen data scientists and data engineers alike to play a valuable role in extracting data-based insights. We look forward to supporting the team through its next phase of growth and expansion.”