Dawn Capital
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Dawn Capital

Hedgehog unleashed: Why we invested in Raito

Raito co-founders Bart Vandekerckhove (CEO) and Dieter Wachters (CTO)

Here at Dawn, we’re big believers in focus. In an early-stage startup the possibilities truly are endless, and so it’s essential to do one thing better than anyone else. In this domain, hedgehogs usually beat foxes.

Following that philosophy, the past few years have seen an explosion in the tooling for the data stack. First-generation data technologies are steadily being replaced with a best-of-breed, yet also fully interoperable, toolchain. Billion-dollar companies have emerged solving “one big thing” such as data warehouse, streaming or catalogue.

The end game of all this data tooling is, of course, to unlock business value. It’s pointless spending millions on acquiring, transforming and storing data if no one can use it. And as data literacy continues to spread among knowledge workers — driving trends such as the rise of the citizen data scientist — the demand for access to valuable business data is only set to grow.

Data catalogues have enabled companies to build a register of their data assets, as well as information about who owns the data and what purposes it can legitimately be used for. This is an excellent foundation for unlocking value from enterprise data.

But the next step in the value chain — data access — is broken. Once a prospective data consumer has identified a resource they want to work off, actually getting access to it is a clunky process involving a manual permissioning flow. It’s slow, error-prone and low-value work for the data engineers to whom the task falls.

The data access management tools in the market have only partially solved the problem. One of the key issues is that their architecture requires the data in question to be replicated in a new “proxy” environment, which negatively impacts time-to-value, performance and cost. Moreover, although enabling access is the responsibility of data engineers, the existing tools are not built with engineers or the modern data stack front of mind.

Bart and Dieter had seen this problem first-hand over many years at Collibra — the data governance category leader that we’ve been privileged to partner with since 2015. Convinced that they could build a better platform for the next frontier in the value chain — data access management — they quit their jobs last year to found Raito. Together with our friends at Crane, as well as angel investors including the founders of Collibra, we backed them from the outset of this exciting journey.

From our perspective, investing was an easy decision. We’d admired Bart and Dieter at work first-hand before: Dieter as one of the very first engineering hires at Collibra, and Bart as a superstar product manager. When we found out that they intended to join the growing “Collibra mafia”, we convinced them to partner with Dawn — a fellow-hedgehog that focuses on B2B software.

The product is now out of beta and available for frustrated data engineers the world over to try over at raito.io.

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