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Data collaboration startup Atlan today announced it has secured $16.5 million in a funding round led by Insight Ventures. The company says the capital, which brings its total raised to date to over $21 million, will fund platform development and expansion over the coming months.

DataOps enabled through data collaboration, or the analysis of multiple datasets to gain insights, can add enormous value to a business. Forty-five percent of companies run at least some big data workloads in the cloud, according to ZDNet. And the worldwide big data market is projected to grow to $103 billion in 2027, Forbes reports, by which time 90% of IT professionals will have increased their spending on analytics tools.

Atlan started out as an internal initiative at “data for good” firm SocialCops and was incubated across over 200 data projects, including India’s National Data and Analytics Platform and the United Nations SDGs National Data Platforms. By acting as a hub for assets ranging from tables and dashboards to models and code, Atlan seeks to enable teams to create a source of truth while collaborating via integrations with data warehouses, chat apps like Slack, and business and data science tools.

Applying analytics to data

Atlan’s platform performs automatic data profiling to identify outliers, missing values, sensitive data, and anomalies. It also correlates business terms with data objects to generate a common understanding of the data and how to use it. Atlan can reveal how data has evolved through its lifecycle and predict how assets will change going forward. Moreover, it can help manage data usage with granular governance and access controls.

Atlan can be configured to send alerts to stakeholders in the event something goes wrong and to require approval for access to metadata and previews of datasets, linked assets, associated classifications, and glossaries. In-line chats and annotations ostensibly help users stay on the same page, as do Excel-type queries like filters, aggregations, and grouping on data from data lakes and warehouses.

Atlan also offers a “bot ecosystem” with an auto-lineage bot that leverages SQL query history and logs to construct column-level lineage across a data stack. Another bot — an “auto personally identifiable (PPI) information” bot — reads through database column contents to detect PII columns and apply sensitive data classifications. And a column description bot auto-recommends a column description for columns on the basis of lineage from past training data.

“Today, data assets are not just tables, but code, models, BI dashboards, and pipelines,” Atlan cofounder Prukalpa Sankar said. “At Atlan, we are reimagining the human experience with data — why can’t data assets be shared as easily as sharing a link on Google Docs? Or if Google Analytics can tell you usage on a website, why can’t we do the same for our data?”

The benefits of data

Companies that have adopted data strategies report significant benefits. A 2019 Entrepreneur survey found that big data companies saw a profit increase of 8% to 10%, along with a 10% reduction in overall cost. Perhaps unsurprisingly, analytics leaders are nearly twice as likely as others to report enacting a long-term strategy to respond to changes in core business practices, according to McKinsey.

Atlan has 40 employees and says it has expanded rapidly against this backdrop, with 16 times growth over the last two fiscal quarters. The company claims its platform is currently used by teams at large enterprises like Unilever, Scripps Health, and Postman. In the case of India’s National Data and Analytics Platform, Atlan connected 42 databases across 25 national ministries in 12 months, which the company says is the fastest deployment of its type globally.

“Atlan applies the principles of DataOps — agility, reproducibility, documentation-first approach —  to a relatively traditional space in the data management industry that hasn’t seen much innovation the past decade: metadata management,” a spokesperson told VentureBeat. “Atlan [has] reimagined metadata using a collaboration-first approach. By acting as a virtual hub for data assets ranging from tables and dashboards to models and code, Atlan enables teams to create a single source of truth for all their data assets and collaborate across the modern data stack through deep integrations with tools like Slack, business intelligence tools, data science tools, and more.”

Angel and existing investors also participated in Atlan’s funding round, including former Snowflake CEO Bob Muglia, Stitch cofounders Bob Moore and Jake Stein, Safegraph and LiveRamp founder Auren Hoffman, Sequoia Surge, and Waterbridge Ventures.

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