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July 19, 2019

Ascend Launches From Stealth With $19M

Oliver Peckham

Ascend, an autonomous dataflow service provider, has emerged from stealth with $19M in funding. Ascend, which is seeking to “de-risk big data projects and accelerate digital transformations,” promises a solution that allows data engineering teams to rapidly build, scale and operate Apache Spark-based pipelines.

Data pipelines are crucial, Ascend claimed, but are time-consuming to build for data engineers, necessitating extensive hands-on coding and specialized tools – and resulting in “brittle” pipelines as needs change. Ascend intends to address these problems with its Autonomous Dataflow Service, which “manages cloud infrastructure, optimizes pipelines, and eliminates maintenance across the entire data lifecycle.” Ascend claims that its service enables pipeline creation with 85% less code and reduces the time from prototype to production by 90%. 

“I’ve worked with hundreds of companies over the years and have seen firsthand the challenges encountered with big data and digital transformation,” said Sean Knapp, Founder and CEO of Ascend. “I founded Ascend to fix data pipelines, a critical and ubiquitous component of data architectures that have been neglected until now. By streamlining data pipeline development and automatically optimizing its ongoing performance, we have changed the game for data engineers and the data consumers that depend on them.”

Accel led its Series A round with participants including Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and 8VC. Advisors include Kevin Scott, CTO of Microsoft; Scott McNealy, former Sun Microsystems CEO; Maynard Webb, Board Member, Salesforce and Visa; and Deep Nishar, Senior Managing Partner of Softbank Vision Fund.

“The market is on the cusp of a new wave,” said McNealy. “The winners of the past decade are those who best leveraged data to fuel their business, yet increased competition necessitates they do more, faster, and with greater efficiency. We’ve seen automation transform every industry and this will be no exception. I have worked with dozens of startups, and it’s rare a company possesses both the experience to define the root of a monumental problem and the talent to do something amazing about it. Ascend is such a company, and their innovation will unequivocally usher in a new era of data engineering.”

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