By Mark W. Bailey and Sam Fort, DFJ Growth Partners
DFJ Growth is pleased to announce we are leading a $20 million Series B round in Immuta, an emerging disruptive leader providing data management for data science. Immuta offers a new way for companies to apply policies, regulation, and controls to ensure appropriate data governance and compliance.
Why is this important now?
Recent years have brought an explosion in digital data coupled with dramatic increases in computational power and storage enabled by cloud computing. This change has resulted in a proliferation of data science and artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives as businesses around the world seek to use their digital data to improve customer experience, generate revenue, or increase operational efficiencies.
Simultaneously, there has been a growing awareness about the importance of data governance and data privacy. There is an interesting analogy to the early days of cybersecurity when news headlines, data breaches, and emerging regulation punctuated longer term trends. With the passage of GDPR in the European Union and recent news headlines about the importance of data privacy and data governance, there is an increasing concern in organizations about how to manage access to data.
Immuta’s compliance and governance solutions enable data science initiatives to proceed at high speed while ensuring appropriate data governance and regulatory compliance.
The Immuta team and approach
While doing our research on the evolution of how AI and data science will be adopted by businesses of all kinds, we came across Immuta and were immediately impressed with both the quality of the team and the product.
The Immuta team is particularly well suited to solve this problem. With extensive backgrounds in data science, the team, led by CEO Matt Carroll and CTO Steve Touw, had experienced earlier in their careers the challenges of both controlling data access while promoting data analysis. They have also surrounded themselves with strong investors and advisors that include existing investors Drive Capital and Greycroft, as well as new investors Dell and Citi.
In the course of our research, Immuta’s marquee customers praised the product for its ease of configuration and deployment, and also the company for providing very responsive support. Immuta enables customers to quickly and easily apply consistent data governance across a wide variety of data sources, on premises or in the cloud, with minimal impact on their existing operations. Immuta suggests immutable; customers can apply these policies while leaving data where it is. This method minimizes any additional change in the customer environment allowing customers to move quickly and leverage their existing infrastructure; yielding a strong return on investment on their data science initiatives and their previous information technology investments.
The Immuta solution
Immuta provides a software layer that allows data science analytic tools to access a wide variety of data sources while consistently and rigorously applying data governance policies that control access in a highly configurable fashion. By enabling the addition of data sources quickly and easily, the search for relationships and insights across data sets is accelerated.
Data governance policies are easily configured through an intuitive user interface, saving organizations a great deal of time and allowing data science initiatives to proceed at a faster speed while empowering data owners and maintaining compliance and control.
Immuta also provides a robust audit log allowing customers to track who has accessed what data, for what purpose, and when. This is helpful for compliance reporting as well as for forensic work when investigating possible data breaches.
Looking forward: Algorithmic and edge governance
Immuta is rapidly engaging some of the world’s most respected brands in financial services, healthcare, transportation, and telecom as these companies seek ways to both leverage the rapidly increasing amounts of data they possess while exercising appropriate data governance and remaining in compliance with evolving privacy laws.
Other vertical markets, such as retail, travel, and media are likely to follow suit. It is difficult to imagine any vertical market or business which will not eventually seek to use its data to improve customer experience and operational efficiency.
As more and more business is run on algorithms and advanced analytics such as AI, machine learning, and deep learning, it is likely that algorithmic governance will become an increasing concern. Early thought leaders in AI are already raising questions about how models may be affected by data drift and insidious model biases. How will enterprises ensure that decisions facilitated by algorithmic models continue over time to be sensible, responsible, ethical, and legal? This is likely to lead to an increasing interest in algorithmic governance solutions.
In parallel with this trend, there continues to be a proliferation of smart, connected devices in our lives collecting data and making decisions at the edge. The data collected by these devices and the algorithms running on them will require appropriate governance as well. Complicating this further is that the laws governing the management of data by these devices are evolving and will likely vary across countries and regions around the world; making governance at the edge an important enabler to our connected future.
An important mission and a bright future for Immuta
All of this should make for some fascinating opportunities for Immuta as the company seeks to both streamline and strengthen responsible governance in a world that will be increasingly powered by ever more sophisticated AI algorithms and geometrically increasing amounts of digital data. We’re thrilled to be partnering with the Immuta team on this next and very exciting phase of their growth.