BackboneAI, a startup providing a data automation platform for enterprises, today emerged from stealth with $4.7 million in seed funding. CEO Rob Bailey says the round will be used to scale the company’s product for data collection within and among organizations, which he believes could improve data science team productivity by leveraging AI to integrate data from a range of sources.

BackboneAI’s offering reconciles records in a number of industries, like bills of materials across construction vendors and companies. It ingests data from various sources, preprocesses and standardizes it, and then delivers it to systems. A combination of data synchronization, API connectivity, and third-party app and database support can identify and resolve anomalies while tracking the provenance of products from source to customer and managing global rights and shipments for companies with affiliates and distributors.

In this way, BackboneAI isn’t unlike Amperity, which ingests raw customer data from systems spanning organizations and then standardizes that data to create a complete and current view. Unito is also developing a product that integrates disparate software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms, and Tamr recently launched a system that unifies data sets by generating a “table of contents.”

But Boldstart Ventures partner Jeffrey Leventhal claims BackboneAI’s platform can be configured and deployed faster than most — within a few weeks —  and that it’s already being used by a Fortune 500 customer: global distribution organization Genuine Parts Company. “BackboneAI is uniquely transforming the way the enterprise will collect and use their data,” he said. “It is a great example of an API where you actually have network effects, and we’re proud to work with Rob and his team as BackboneAI takes the industry by storm.”

Gartner noted in its 2017 Market Guide for Data Preparation report that organizations spend over 60% of their time on data preparation. In that same report, Gartner anticipated that in 2020 data prep tools would be used in more than 50% of new data integration efforts for analytics. “The market for data preparation has now evolved from tools supporting only self-service use cases into platforms that enable data and analytics teams to build agile and searchable data sets at an enterprise scale for distributed content authors,” wrote the report’s coauthors. “Data and analytics organizations that provide agile, curated internal and external data sets for a range of content authors will realize twice the business benefits as those that do not.”

Fika Ventures led BackboneAI’s funding round, with participation from Boldstart Ventures, Dynamo Ventures, GGV Capital, MetaProp, Spider VC, and undisclosed angel investors. BackboneAI is based in New York City and was founded in 2019 by Bailey, who previously built two enterprise software companies — Kustomer and DataSift — focused on structured and unstructured data ingestion and automation.

As part of the round, Leventhal and Fika Ventures general partner Eva Ho have joined the company’s board of directors.

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