Photograph by Polygraphus/Getty Images
By Derrick Harris
September 9, 2015

A startup called Paxata has raised an $18 million round of venture capital for its service that aims to make data analysis easier for laypeople, the company announced on Wednesday.

The problem Paxata is trying to solve is a classic one in the world of analytics: Business users want to analyze the data that’s important to them using the tools they like to use, and they don’t want to rely on IT staff to help them do it. IT often comes into play because the process of making raw data usable with popular data-analysis applications such as Tableau (DATA) or Qlik (QLIK), or even Microsoft Excel (MSFT), can be time-consuming and require expertise in some less-than-user-friendly technologies.

Paxata brags that its product helps eliminate the middleman by letting users easily clean up and transform data on their own. Its technology uses machine learning algorithms to help learn they types of changes users want to make to raw data (for example, deleting columns or combining with other sources), correct errant fields, or even combine fields that mean the same thing but are labeled differently in different datasets (for example, “SKU” and “product ID”). Paxata’s user interface is designed to be simple, and the whole thing runs on Apache Spark—a data-processing system that is taking over the big data space—so that under-the-covers calculations happen very quickly.

The company plays in an increasingly crowded field, which is a testament to how important easy methods for working with and transforming raw data are to the concept of ubiquitous data analytics. Paxata’s primary competitor is another venture-funded startup, called Trifacta, as well as a new breed of analytics startups that are baking some level of data transformation right into their data-analysis products.

Paxata came out of stealth mode in October 2013, has now raised more than $25 million in capital. EDBI, the investment division of the Singapore Economic Development Board, led this new round, along with existing investors Accel Partners India, Walden-Riverwood Ventures and Toba Capital.

For more about the business value of data analytics, watch this Fortune video:

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