Austin, Texas-based data startup Data.world has launched with $14 million in Series A funding. Shasta Ventures led the round with participation from other investors that included Capital Factory, Chicago Ventures, Floodgate, FYRFLY Venture Partners, Homebrew, Lead Edge Capital, LiveOak Venture Partners and Rothenberg Ventures.
Austin, TX – July 11, 2016 – data.world, a new company that makes it fast and easy to find and use data to solve problems, has officially launched today. Led by Bazaarvoice founder (NASDAQ: BV) and former CEO Brett Hurt and three former HomeAway executives, data.world is building the most meaningful, collaborative, and abundant data resource in the world by dismantling the barriers between people and data. With data.world, people who work with data can quickly and easily discover, prepare, and share it, as well as effectively collaborate in real time to solve important problems.
“Open data, which is data that can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose, is shaping up to be one of the most important forces impacting humanity today,” said Hurt, co-founder and CEO of data.world. “This movement can speed our cure for cancer, help keep governments accountable, curtail climate change, and positively impact other important world issues. We’ve built data.world to facilitate these breakthroughs – by allowing professional and amateur data scientists, analysts, and researchers to instantly find, use, and share data.”
data.world also announced that it has secured $14 million in a Series A round led by Shasta Ventures. Additional investors include leading venture capital firms Capital Factory, Chicago Ventures, Floodgate, FYRFLY Venture Partners, Homebrew, Lead Edge Capital, LiveOak Venture Partners, and Rothenberg Ventures.
More than two dozen prominent angel investors also participated in the round, including: Clayton Christopher, Founder of CAVU Ventures, Sweet Leaf Tea, and Deep Eddy Vodka; Herb Simon, chairman emeritus of Simon Property Group and owner of the Indiana Pacers; John Mackey, Co-founder and Co-CEO of Whole Foods; Matt O’Hayer, founder and CEO of Vital Farms; Josh Kopelman, Co-founder of First Round Capital; Philip Berber, co-founder of A Glimmer of Hope and founder and CEO of Enable Impact; and Ralph Mack, CEO of Mack Capital.
data.world is a mission-driven company and received 100% investor support to operate as a public benefit corporation to create societal value through growth, IPO, and beyond. This innovative corporate structure allows data.world to make a profound impact by democratizing access to the world’s data and creating a sustainable archive. data.world’s specific public benefit purposes can be found at data.world/benefit-statement.
“Once every two or three years, you see a company and idea that could be hugely transformational,” said Jason Pressman, Partner at Shasta Ventures and data.world Board of Directors member. “data.world has the potential to re-define what we think is possible in our lifetimes and create massive value for society.”
Open Data Opportunity: Promise vs. Reality
There are currently more than 18 million open datasets today – more than 7x the number of websites at Google’s launch. And more datasets are becoming available each day as the potential of data sharing and collaboration drives researchers, corporations, governments, NGOs, and citizens to open up new datasets to the public.
However, finding data, understanding its meaning, and using it remain extremely difficult. Less than 10% of all open data is published as machine-readable under open licenses, and on average, 80% of total project time is spent getting data ready to analyze. Data projects that require collaboration are notoriously difficult, creating a digital divide between the people who have data and the people who need it. Further, those who wish to enhance their internal data by securely combining it with open data are left with few options. These technical and social barriers jeopardize the open data movement by making it prohibitively difficult to find, use, and share data.
data.world helps people who work with data solve problems faster by allowing them to:
● Quickly find relevant data from a wide range of sources;
● Forgo the time and effort of managing numerous file formats;
● Understand data’s meaning in ways that can be enhanced and shared;
● Contribute and discuss data in one place to aid fast, efficient, and fruitful collaboration.
By linking datasets together using Semantic Web technology, the data.world platform identifies and adds knowledge about the concepts within data, allowing people and machines to work with data without needing to learn everything about it beforehand.
The company also introduces several ideas from social networking to enhance data science. These include user profiles and feeds to aid data discovery, comments and annotations to provide context, and ratings and social proof to promote quality.
The data.world preview release will be available to select users starting July 11. To request early access to the platform, visit data.world.
data.world Founding Team
data.world’s founding team has repeatedly predicted and accelerated massive societal and technological movements. CEO Brett Hurt has helped pioneer multiple online disruptions, including web analytics in 1999 with Coremetrics (acquired by IBM). Starting in 2005, he played a pivotal role in the emergence of social data with Bazaarvoice (NASDAQ: BV), which today reaches over 700 million people around the world with its user-generated content.
Hurt is joined by three key HomeAway executives who helped define the early sharing economy:
● Bryon Jacob, data.world co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, is a veteran of Amazon, Trilogy, and former Principal Architect at HomeAway with deep expertise in shaping technology and product vision.
● Matt Laessig, data.world co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, brings extensive experience in growing internet and technology businesses as both an entrepreneur and prior business executive at HomeAway and Bazaarvoice.
● Jon Loyens, data.world co-founder and Chief Product Officer, has spent his career as an engineering and product leader for both consumer-facing and enterprise companies, most recently serving as Vice President of Engineering at HomeAway.
“data.world is the biggest opportunity I have been part of to date, and I continue to be amazed by the both the speed of the movement and the incredible response from the people who want to be part of the company,” said Hurt. “There is a tremendous power in working together to find a better way – in this case, a way to dramatically grow the amount of high-quality data that is readily available to help solve the world’s biggest problems – and to craft a new kind of company that achieves its mission, benefits society, and succeeds as a business.”
Additional Comments on the News
“By making data widely available and easy to use and share, data.world has the potential to drive major commercial breakthroughs. data.world stands to transform any industry that relies on answering complex problems as quickly and completely as possible.” – Pat Ryan Jr., Chairman, Chicago Ventures.
“I invested in data.world because, as a conscious capitalist, I look for purpose-driven companies with extraordinary leadership teams. data.world will succeed by positively impacting society in areas as diverse as global health and nutrition, sustainability, and environmental preservation.” – John Mackey, founder and Co-CEO of Whole Foods.
“data.world is tackling a fundamental problem: how to make data interoperable to help people and machines unlock data’s value faster. This is a significant step forward for the semantic web community – and a more comprehensive approach than I’ve seen before.” – Dean Allemang, semantic web expert, author and Principal Consultant at Working Ontologist, LLC.
“data.world will finally give people easy access to a wealth of datasets. This really is a huge step forward: the world of data will be revolutionized by data.world, and everybody will be better off as a result.” – Peter Fader, Professor of Marketing, Wharton
data.world strives to build the most meaningful, collaborative, and abundant data resource in the world. The company eases data discovery, collaboration, and use to solve the most complex academic, commercial, and societal problems. data.world operates as a public-benefit corporation and is headquartered in Austin, Texas. Visit data.world and follow @datadotworld and facebook.com/datadotworld for more information.