Select Stara start-up that provides data discovery, lineage and management tools to primarily enterprise organizations today announced it has raised $15 million in a Series A round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with participation from Bowery Capital, Sozo Ventures and Pebble Bed. The new money brings the company’s total revenue to $20 million, and CEO Shinji Kim tells me it will be spent on product engineering, go-to-market, and customer success efforts.
“The explosion of data and apps makes it challenging to ensure good data governance while enabling data teams to leverage all appropriate data in a self-service manner,” Kim said in an email interview with ukbusinessupdates.com. “Traditional tools exist for enterprise data catalog and data governance, but they require a lot of manual configuration and training to be fully utilized within the organization, which is where Select Star comes in.”
Kim was previously the CEO of data processing provider Concord Systems, which was acquired by Akamai in late 2016. He came to Akamai and lused the company’s internet of things data platform for real-time messaging and – while there – noticed an unfortunate pattern. According to Kim, many of Akamai’s enterprise customers ran into difficulties understanding and using all of their data when they moved to cloud database infrastructures, mostly becauseThe context of data was missing.
By “context,” Kim means an aggregated view of how data flows and is used within and between services, apps, and tools — which is exactly what Select Star provides. The platform analyzes metadata and logs from Snowflake, Google BigQuery, Amazon Redshift, Databricks, Tableau, Looker, and other popular platforms, then attempts to automatically tag and distill events into bullet points.
Also select a star creates a continuously updated inventory of key data assets, models and business metrics. The platform provides a registration system for all data in an organization and teams and tries to expose the most important relationships at the database level.
“We automatically generate the data model, data lineage and documentation from customers, detect personally identifiable information and more, so there is minimal setup work and you can get insights right away,” said Kim. “Our column-level lineage models provide deep insight into end-to-end data flows, helping data teams avoid breaking data models and dashboards.”
This kind of context, Kim argues, can help companies become more data-driven, especially those who regularly work with multiple, large, disparate data sets. For example, a company might want to look at sales data, marketing data, and product usage data together to get a complete profile of a customer. Collecting and normalizing all that information can be challenging, not only from a technical perspective, but also because different departments and people may interpret the data in different ways.
For some reason, according to Kim, few companies consider themselves to be truly data-driven, despite their best efforts. In a 2021 NewVantage survey, only 30% reported have a well-developed data strategy. A separate recent one report of Accenture found that only 33% of companies “have enough confidence in their data to use it effectively and extract value from it.” And in a 2019 bearing conducted by Arm Treasure Data, 47% of respondents said their company’s data was “closed and difficult to access.”
“Having an automated data discovery platform like Select Star can act as the single source of truth that anyone can point to,” Kim said. “This helps remove confusion, promotes confidence in data, and encourages more analytics work to be done effectively.”
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the other startups tackling the same problem, in some cases from noticeably different angles. Castor comes to mind – it’s building data catalogs or collections of metadata, data management and search tools designed to help users find the data they need within an organization. There’s also Alation, Data.World, and Collibra, which similarly offer data search and data line tracking tools, as well as data observation companies like Manta and Unravel Data.
Kim expressed confidence that Select Star can – and competes – exceptionally well, pointing to a customer base that includes Square parent Block, Pitney Bowes, Fivetran, Opendoor and Handshake. He declined to comment on revenue statistics, but said the plan is to double Select Star’s 20-person workforce by the end of the year, suggesting some optimism about the future.