Factual, a startup that claims to host hundreds of thousands of data sets, has raised $25 million in its first round of institutional funding.
When I spoke to founder and chief executive Gil Elbaz more than a year ago, he had a big vision for the Los Angeles company — he wanted Factual to be the central repository for data on any subject you can think of. The company uses data mining tools to gather and structure public data from across the Web, and it also gets data from users and partners. (Developers get a discount on Factual’s data if they’re contributing data too.)
Today, Elbaz still sounded ambitious, but he acknowledged that Factual still has progress to make. Specifically, the company recently started to promote its location data to developers of mobile and Web-based location apps. Factual has already signed deals with large partners like Facebook (for its Places service in the United Kingdom and Japan) and location app-maker Booyah.
Factual raised the money from Andreessen Horowitz and Index Ventures, which already invested in the company’s $2 million angel funding. Making these deals helped convince investors that there’s a big opportunity here, Elbaz said — leading to the $25 million round (which is large for a Web startup’s first institutional round) and presumably to a large valuation as well.
Moving forward, Elbaz said he still wants to “go broad” and tackle lots of different data areas. At the same time, Factual needs to compete with startups that focus on specific types of data — on the location front that includes Localeze and SimpleGeo — so in the short-term, Elbaz said, ‘We’ll be picking off certain verticals where marketing dollars will prove effective.”
When I asked which areas he had in mind, he pointed to the Factual website, which highlights data in education, health, entertainment, and government.