Data automation startup Ascend.io today announced that it has secured a $31 million funding round led by prominent technology investment firm Tiger Global.
Shasta Ventures and returning investor Accel participated as well. Ascend.io, incorporation as Ascension Labs Inc., will use the new funding to accelerate product development initiatives and grow its international presence.
Before a company can extract business insights from its data, the data has to be sent from the systems where it’s usually stored to an analytics platform. Companies also require the ability to move business information between different systems in other situations. In the enterprise, the task of moving information is often performed automatically by software workflows known as data pipelines.
Ascend.io provides a cloud platform that makes it easier to build and maintain data pipelines. According to the startup, its platform reduces the amount of custom code that developers must write to move data between different systems by 90%.
To move business records to a new application, a company first has to extract the records from the platform where they’re stored. Ascend.io provides a collection of pre-packaged connectors for retrieving records from databases and other systems. It also enables companies to create their own custom connectors when needed.
Different systems often organize the data they store in different formats. As a result, the format of business records often has to be changed before they’re moved to a new application. There are also other reasons why a company may wish to modify a dataset: it may wish to filter erroneous information, or remove duplicate entries to save bandwidth.
Ascend.io provides features that help companies more easily filter and update datasets when moving them between systems. Moreover, the platform enables developers to monitor the workflow to ensure that everything is working as expected. Ascend.io alerts developers if a data pipeline experiences errors and logs how information changes while it’s being moved, which makes it easier to detect potential accuracy issues.
Overall, the process of moving data from one system to another can involve dozens of steps. Many of those steps have to be carried out in a specific order. As part of its feature set, Ascend.io offers a technology called DataAware that can automatically orchestrate data workflows and ensure that every step of the process is carried out as expected.
Ascend.io founder and Chief Executive Officer Sean Knapp explained the startup’s approach to automating data pipelines in an interview on SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE last October. “What we do from an automation perspective for data pipelines is very similar to what Kubernetes does for containers,” Knapp (pictured) explained. “We introduce a declarative model, and put in this incredible intelligence that tracks everything around how data moves.”
“For us, when we look at the biggest potential to automate … is to help alleviate maintenance and optimization burdens for users, so they get to spend more time building and less time maintaining,” Knapp added.
The $31 million funding round that Ascend.io announced today follows a year in which the startup experienced rapid growth. Ascend.io says that the number of users in its installed base quadrupled in the past 12 months, while revenues increased sevenfold.