Snowplow, a platform designed to create data for AI and business intelligence applications, today announced that it raised $40 million in a Series B funding round led by NEA, Snowplow investors, Atlantic Bridge and MMC. Co-founder and CEO Alex Dean said that the new cash will enable Snowplow to grow its team, establish a second headquarters in Boston and expand its platform to support new types of data creation.
Snowplow has its origins in Dean’s and Yali Sassoon’s (Snowplow’s co-founder) consulting work, which often involved helping companies to use behavioral data from mobile apps and websites to inform their business strategies. “Behavioral data” refers to data that captures how people, typically customers, interact with products and services.
Dean was an analyst at Deloitte and a consultant at Fathom Partners, while Sassoon was an associate at PwC. According to Dean, their clients kept bumping into limitations — mainly, that data was “stuck” inside of tools like Google Analytics.
“Data teams were spending the majority of their time trying to extract data from different software-as-a-service platforms, leaving precious little time to innovate,” Dean told TechCrunch in an email interview. “[We] launched Snowplow to help any company create granular behavioral data for themselves, in their own cloud — freeing data analysts and scientists from the constraints imposed by analytics vendors.”
Snowplow creates AI and machine learning data “at the source” — i.e., a customer’s preferred data store (like an Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform instance). The idea is to automate the creation and management of a “data language” across a business, with a common schema that can be modeled for business intelligence and AI, streamed for real-time apps and enriched with third-party data and systems.
Dean argues that creating new behavioral data as opposed to reusing existing data can lead to higher-quality datasets for AI and analytics. For example, one customer, Software.com, uses Snowplow to track event data from multiple sources across its platform and deliver it in a single, consolidated format.
“There are no companies that do exactly what we do,” Dean claimed. “Other companies create behavioral data,, but typically to power their own applications — examples include digital analytics solutions (e.g., Google Analytics) and customer data platforms (e.g., Segment, mParticle). However, unlike these solutions, Snowplow … processes data in clients’ clouds.”
Snowplow, which has raised a total of $55 million, claims that over 10,000 companies including Flickr and Strava are using its platform as of today. (That figure spans organizations using Snowplow’s open source platform as well as its fully managed product.) Snowplow’s annual recurring revenue stands at $12 million, and the startup plans to increase its headcount from 140 employees to 200 by the end of the year.
“The C-suite need to be ever-vigilant on the security, privacy and management of their data. Snowplow gives complete control of their data pipelines within their own cloud infrastructure,” Dean said. “We enjoyed strong growth during the pandemic as many companies doubled down in investing in digital and data … [and] we believe we are well placed for any broader economic slowdown. [We’re] well capitalized with a product that drives a much-improved return on investment in AI. Digital transformation isn’t slowing down, and AI is playing a larger and larger role in that.”