Matillion Rides Cloud ETL to $100 Million Round
Buoyed by 400 enterprise customers in the Snowflake data warehouse alone, ETL provider Matillion has been on a roll, with growth accelerating into the second half of 2020. With today’s $100 million Series D round, the Anglo-American company sees a clear path ahead to expand its cloud footprint and grow its data integration business around the world.
Data integration software is not the sexiest product category in the big data and AI ecosystem, not when there are GPUs, graph algorithms, and the like. ETL is one of those necessary evils that, try as we might, we simply cannot do without.
ETL tools remain the go-to products that form the basis of big data workflows. Thanks to the ever-expanding volume of data sources and never-ending competitive pressures to do more with data, ETL (and its cousin, ELT) products are heavily relied upon to get accurate and timely data from source systems into data warehouses and data lakes for advanced analytics and AI projects.
There are larger, older, and better-known ETL vendors plying the BI and analytics waters. But according to Matthew Scullion, the founder and CEO of Matillion, none of them can match the mix of cloud native technology, ELT architecture, and a low-code user experience that Matillion can.
“Companies today want to go faster. They want to be able to scale up and get stood up quicker,” Scullion says. “They want to be able to leverage the compute power and functionality of platforms like Snowflake, Databricks, AWS, and Azure, and they can’t do that in pre-cloud technology. But they absolutely can in Matillion.”
The company, which has dual headquarters in Manchester, UK, and Denver, Colorado, is in the midst of carving itself a niche in the ETL/ELT world, with a particular strength in getting customers’ data loaded into cloud data warehouses.
Scullion says the company cuts no corners in offering a full-featured, enterprise-level data integration product. It comes out of the box with over 100 connectors, as well as the capability to meld data flows to meet specific requirements, such as loading data in Snowflake’s data format. That is something that the previous generation of on-prem ELT tool providers could do.
But few (if any) of those on-prem products are also designed to work in the cloud, Scullion says. Plus, those older products typically lack flexible user interfaces that multiple personas can work with. According to Scullion, it is those three elements that give Mattillion its core advantage, and why it’s finding success in the market.
“We’re a browser-based, user-forward, contemporary low-code, no-code user paradigm,” Scullion tells Datanami. “That’s important because the people who want to work with data are not just high-end data engineers. We support those guys and have hundreds using the platform. But it’s also ETL guys, BI people. It’s tech-savvy business analysts and it’s data scientists wanting to get their data ready, make their data useful, to feed their AI and ML models.”
Matillion’s story begins just over 10 years ago. At that time, the company was in the business of building cloud data warehouses on behalf of customers, “back when that was a really new and unusual thing to do,” Scullion adds.
“We were using commercial off-the-shelf ETL technology to build and maintain these data warehouses, and what we found was that they were great tools but the fact that they weren’t built for the cloud was slowing us down,” he says. “So in 2014, knowing an unusually large amount about what it takes to build a data warehouse in the cloud on a global basis–just because that’s what we happened to have been doing–we used that to inform the development of the first Matillion ETL product. And that’s why it’s the born on the cloud and built for cloud data platforms technology.”
Today, the Matillion ETL offering remains its flagship offering. In 2020, it bolstered that offering with a free data pipeline tool that allows customers to move data (but not perform the all-important transformations).
“We have many hundreds of users, maybe thousands, shipping many hundred of billions of rows of data,” he says. “We give it away for free because we know in a lot of cases, customers are going to end up on the main product for ETL because they’re going to want to start making data useful.”
There is a shift occurring in the market toward a “post-cloud, new generation, modern data stack” that is centered around the clouds. Customers want to store and analyze data on Snowflake, Databricks, AWS, and Azure’s of the world, he says, and analyze it with Sisense, Thoughtspot, Tableau, or Looker, and there’s a need for middleware like Matillion to be the intelligent data layer in the middle.
The $100 million round–which was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from Battery Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, Scale Venture Partners with financing from Silicon Valley Bank UK Branch–will give Matillion the funds it needs to take the company to the next level.
“Certainly one of the primary reasons for raising the round at the time we did was to allow us to invest into the Matillion platform to further accelerate the rate of growth,” he says. “In the last year, we continued to build out our engineer products. We had at least three major new products and hundreds of features in the last year. But we want to continue to accelerate that.”
The company will also look to bolster partnerships. It already has a close one with Snowflake that has resulted in 400 joint enterprise customers. In 2021, it will look to expand its reach into other areas, such as by expanding its partnership with Collibra for data catalogs.
Above all, Matillion’s relentless focus on the cloud will drive the company’s strategy going forward. Just as cloud data warehouses are exploding in popularity at the moment, so too are data integration tools for the cloud.
“Data integration technology has been around for a generation, in the same way that databases and data warehouses are,” he says. “But it’s not built for the cloud.”
If cloud data platforms represent an $80 billion market opportunity, as Snowflake’s S-1 statement said, then it’s likely the data integration in the cloud business is a $16 billion market. Matillion is one of many vendors that would be happy with a small slice of that.