Google and Microsoft’s venture capital arms are pouring $120 million into data-cruncher Incorta
Companies are looking to use artificial intelligence to supercharge their businesses. But they can’t reap A.I.’s rewards, like more accurately forecasting sales, if their data is disorganized and scattered across different systems.
That’s partly why investors like GV, formerly known as Google Ventures, and M12, formerly Microsoft Ventures, are betting more companies will need help. The two are among the latest backers of Incorta, a startup that offers a sort of all-in-one data crunching service for customers to analyze corporate data spread across multiple databases and then render it all into charts and graphics.
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Incorta received $120 million in a new funding round, CEO Scott Jones told Fortune exclusively ahead of the Wednesday morning announcement. Prysm Capital, an investment fund created by three BlackRock alumni, led the financing, which brings Incorta’s total funding raised up to $195 million to date. In addition to GV and M12, Grid Ventures, Sorenson Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Telstra Ventures, and others participated in the latest round.
Jones declined to comment about the firm’s private valuation. He said the startup is not a “unicorn,” a term that refers to a company’s private valuation at $1 billion or more.
Incorta helps streamline business analytics, Jones said. Historically, companies organized and cleansed corporate data by taking information from certain databases, processing that data so it works with other databases, and then loading that retouched information into systems tailored for specific analytical tasks. People refer to this computing technique as “extract, transform, and load,” or ETL—a mundane but important process that powers data analytics.
Today, companies often gather data stored across Oracle and SAP databases. They then use the services of vendors like Informatica, a data management firm, to process the information so it can be funneled into a big electronic vat of data, commonly called a “data lake” or “data warehouse,” depending on the type of data. Lastly, they use tools like Tableau or Microsoft’s Power BI to create visualizations of that information.
Incorta’s tools simplify all those steps into a single process, Jones said. Some of the company’s customers include Broadcom, Redstone Credit Union, Genworth Financial, and Stanford University.
A major benefit of using Incorta is that it reduces “data bloat,” an expansion in the size and number of datasets that can occur when companies prep information for multiple systems, said Karim Faris, a GV general partner. A terabyte of corporate data can turn into five or ten terabytes of data through the data cleaning process. “All of a sudden, your data becomes a lot fatter just for the purpose of being able to analyze it,” Faris said.
Incorta’s new funding will help it to go head-to-head with different competitors, ranging from industry giants like Oracle and SAP to newer businesses like Tableau. Meanwhile, if big cloud computing vendors like Amazon and Microsoft, or super-hot data specialists like Snowflake, debut similar analytical features, the startup could face even more competition.
Essentially, Incorta builds a product that does many things (see: ETL) as opposed to one specific task. The challenge it must beware of is: When companies try to be jacks-of-all-trades, they can wind up as masters of none if they’re not careful.
Jones said that Incorta’s technology works with multiple vendors, giving the company “lots of areas that we can play in.” And even if there are customers who are happy with the data crunching tools they currently use, Jones bets that there are plenty of others who will need something new.
“I’ll tell you that for the 20 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never heard a customer say, ‘I have no new analytic projects,’” Jones said. The appetite is only growing.
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