Flatfile acquires AI startup ChatCSV to enhance its data import platform

Flatfile acquires AI startup ChatCSV to enhance its data import platform

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Flatfile Inc. has acquired ChatCSV Inc., a startup with a platform that enables users to analyze the data in a spreadsheet with natural language questions.

The acquisition was announced this morning. The companies didn’t disclose the financial terms.

Denver-based Flatfile is backed by more than $94 million in funding from Alphabet Inc.’s Gradient Ventures fund, Workday Inc. and other investors. It provides a platform that helps software companies ingest the data users upload to their applications. A company with a sales forecasting tool, for example, could leverage Flatfile to process the sales records its users upload to create revenue predictions. 

Many applications, both in the analytics market and beyond, enable users to upload data for various purposes. Processing that data can be challenging because it often contains errors. Moreover, the information usually has to be restructured into a new format before it can be processed by the application to which it was uploaded.

Developers historically had to write custom code to perform those tasks, which takes time and effort. Flatfile’s platform provides prepackaged data processing tools that significantly reduce the need for custom code. The platform can scan user-uploaded information for errors, reformat it when needed and make other changes. 

ChatCSV also competes in the data management market. It sells an artificial intelligence tool that allows users to upload a spreadsheet and ask natural language questions about the data it contains.

A retail executive could upload a spreadsheet containing last month’s sales logs and ask ChatCSV to find the most profitable products. Marketers, meanwhile, can use ChatCSV to analyze ad performance data for trends such as click-through rate fluctuations. The tool answers users’ questions in plain English and can optionally create charts to make the information easier to parse. 

According to ChatCSV, the AI algorithms underpinning its software are also capable of generating Python code. Python includes many prebuilt code components that automate analytics tasks such as averaging the numbers in a spreadsheet column. ChatCSV can use those prebuilt code components to perform relatively advanced analytics tasks in response to text prompts.

ChatCSV launched its tool less than a year ago. Today, its installed base includes several thousand users at companies such as Procter & Gamble Co., Quora Inc. and McKinsey & Co. ChatCSV provides its tool as a web-based chatbot and in the form of an application programming interface that developers can integrate into their own software.

Following today’s acquisition, Flatfile will make the paid versions of ChatCSV available for free. The company is also working to integrate the tool’s AI features into its data import platform. Flatfile plans to roll out those features in the coming weeks. 

Image: Flatfile

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