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July 11, 2018

Tamr Preps for Growth with $18M Round

Alex Woodie

Tamr today announced that it has raised $18 million in venture capital to help it grow its business, which is focused taking a “machine-driven, human-guided” approach to taming messy data.

The funding round, which was Tamr‘s fourth, brings the five-year-old Cambridge, Massachusetts company’s total funding to $59.4 million, according to Crunchbase. It will be the company’s last, Tamr co-founder and CEO Andy Palmer told the Boston Business Journal.

Tamr, which originated as a research project in co-founder Mike Stonebraker’s graduate class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technologies, was spun out of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in 2014 with a novel approach to data preparation. The company subsequently emerged from stealth later that year to enter the market for data preparation software, which Gartner says attracts $780 million per year in spending.

As we explained back in 2014, Tamr’s software breaks the data preparation process into two parts. First, it uses machine learning and predictive algorithms to automate the transformation of semi-structured data (such as CSV files) into something that’s more usable. This approach works on about 90% of the data, the company said.

Tamr CEO and co-founder Andy Palmer

Tamr also employs a unique collaboration feature whereby it helps users to reach out to human subject matter experts (SMEs) for guidance when the algorithms can’t programmatically handle the data. It also employs machine learning approaches to help refine the matching of SMEs and data sets over time. Tamr says this combination of humans and machines is the idea approach for helping clients tackle big data quality and preparation challenges.

Tamr has attracted a number of clients over the years, including Thompson Reuters, Novartis, Toyota, Amgen, GSK, Philips, and GE, which is also an investor. The company says the new funding round – which includes five new investors — will be used to accelerate growth.

“This new financing underscores the strategic importance of that mission as well as our ability to deliver for our customers,” Palmer stated in a press release. “DataOps — our vision for how enterprises can reinvent the way they manage data to accelerate digital transformation — is fast becoming a reality and driving widespread adoption of Tamr’s best-of-breed data unification solutions.”

The new investors include SBI Investment, INTAGE Open Innovation Fund, Samsung Ventures, Fenox Venture Capital, and Alumni Ventures Group. There was also participation from NEA, GV, and other existing investors.

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