Israel- and Palo Alto, California-based Metrolink.ai, which is developing a platform for data management, today announced that it raised $22 million in a seed round led by Grove Ventures with participation from Eclipse Ventures. The company says that it’ll use the funds, which value Metrolink at $65 million post-money, to grow its R&D, marketing, and sales efforts and lay the groundwork for a U.S. expansion.
While data holds immense potential for businesses looking to bolster their operations with analytics and predictive models, the transition can be extremely challenging. According to a 2017 NewVantage Partners survey, 95% of the Fortune 1000 business leaders surveyed said that their firms had undertaken a big data project in the past five years, but less than half — 48.4% — estimated that their big data initiatives had achieved measurable results.
Founded in January by Asaf Cohen, Lior Susan, and Ronen Korman, Metrolink’s product aims to help enterprises build and deploy dataflow infrastructures using no-code visual dev tools. Customers can create their own data pipelines to cover an array of transformations, leveraging on-premises and cloud solutions that integrate with existing processes and databases.
“The idea of Metrolink was conceived years ago when Asaf Cohen, former deputy chief at Israel’s Defence Force unit, and [I] … were still serving in the military. [We] would frequently encounter a recurring problem: Even though [we] had plenty of data sources to work with, the infrastructure was sometimes simply not there, and sometimes too slow and inefficient to even collect enough data fast enough for it to stay relevant,” CEO Korman told VentureBeat via email. “Joined by Idan Shchori and Avi Hadad, [we] founded Metrolink to bring [our] experience handling data for the military into the private sector.”
Data migration and transformation can present particular blockers in the enterprise. According to an Experian survey, migration issues alone can result in delays, duplicate information, and poor data quality in new systems. That’s perhaps why only 13% of organizations in a report say that they’re delivering on their data strategy — a stunningly low number, considering that the big data market in the U.S. is estimated at $50.1 billion.
Korman claims that Metrolink’s solution can be used for “a whole plethora of things,” including correlating real-time streaming data and aggregating data sources. Metrolink can also integrate with embedded tools for natural language processing, as well as fine-tuned, computer vision-based apps for domain-specific use cases like product inspection.
“We have so many internet of things and cyber tools to make data collection easy, and with machine learning, you can gain business value from this data lightning-fast. Yet, companies and organizations … still find themselves flooded with vast, complex, diverse, and changing data, which takes a lot of time and resources to process before any analysis,” Korman said. “Our [platform] comes equipped with a robust debugging tool that enables companies to run any modules in test mode before their actual deployment. It’s versatile enough to allow for using identical datasets for different operational needs and purposes.”
Metrolink sees Fivetran, Infoworks, and Dbt Labs as its direct competitors, but the startup claims that its solution features “more robust functionality” via “ready-to-deploy” connectors and prebuilt transformation tools. Korman says that Metrolink currently serves around a dozen customers and achieved “seven-figure” revenue this year, with a gross margin profile below 90%.
“Right now, our small team — less than 15 — is dominated by tech professionals building our platform from the ground up. By the end of the year, we are planning to grow in 50%, adding more employees to other teams, such as sales, with further expansions slated for further down the line,” Korman added.
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