Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Warby Parker and a long list of other startups of the 21st century have appointed C-level employees to roles focused exclusively on data science.
These digital-age companies have established “data cultures,” which provide employees broad access to high-quality data, advocate for data literacy and have data-driven decision-making processes, according to Carl Anderson, who previously led data analytics and data science at Warby Parker and WeWork.
Fortune 500 companies are still a long way from this ideal. Data.world, a sort of social networking site for data projects and teams, wants to give them the tools to get there. Its collaborative data community gives employees at large businesses a place to upload, exchange and catalog data sets, then discuss their findings with other employees.
“There is a huge data divide that has occurred between these big traditional companies that were built from the ground up from atoms and these digital-age companies that were built from the ground up from bits,” data.world chief executive officer Brett Hurt told TechCrunch.
Today, Austin-based data.world is announcing a $12 million investment led by Workday Ventures, with participation from The Associated Press (AP) and OurCrowd. The round brings the company’s total raised since its 2016 launch to $45.3 million, including an $18.7 million Series B in February 2017.
Data.world will use the capital to continue building out its enterprise offering, which it rolled out recently. The enterprise product, which counts AP as a customer, connects with Tableau, Microsoft Excel and Power BI, IBM SPSS, MicroStrategy, Google Data Studio and more.
Hurt, who previously founded the now-public customer reviews and social commerce platform BazaarVoice, says GitHub was a big inspiration for data.world.
“They’ve done an incredible job of democratizing access to code,” he said. “They made every programmer in the world better by giving them access to the world’s code, and data is one of those things that’s very liberating if you have access to [it].”
The data.world platform is also widely used by journalists, hence the investment from the AP. Using data.world, journalists can access complex data sets quickly and efficiently. Hurt says it’s “changed the game for data journalism.”
“AP was born back in 1846 as a cooperative of newspaper publishers sharing access to a fast horse to get news updates from the war in Mexico,” said Jim Kennedy, AP’s senior vice president for strategy and enterprise development in a statement. “The data.world platform is like that fast horse, enabling us to open important new territory for newsgathering in the 21st century.”