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June 3, 2021

Alation Adds $110M to Its Catalog


Alation, the company that put the data catalog on the map, today announced the completion of a Series D round of funding worth $110 million. The influx of cash coincides with a $1.2 billion valuation, and gives the unicorn the fuel to accelerate growth and development.

Founded in 2012 with a market debut in 2015, Alation helped define the modern data catalog space, which uses machine learning technology to provide a single view into all of an enterprise’s data assets as it sits across cloud and on-prem file systems, databases, data lakes, and warehouses.

Alation jumped out to an early lead in the data catalog market and, by all accounts, has maintained that lead in the category, which so far has resisted being subsumed into larger data integration product suites, as industry watchers have predicted.

“When we launched the company back in 2015, nobody knew what a data catalog was,” Alation co-founder and CEO Satyen Sangani told Datanami back in 2017. “Many people didn’t care or thought it was a feature. We’ve proven very clearly that’s not the case.”

Over the years, Alation has accumulated more than 250 customers, including big names like Cisco, Exelon, Fifth Third Bank, GE Aviation, Nasdaq, Pfizer, and Travelers Insurance. It’s formed partnerships with other data tool provides, such as Snowflake, Tableau, Trifacta, and Databricks.

Forrester Wave for Machine Learning Data Catalog, October 2020)

In September, the company debuted the State of Data Culture, an ongoing report that seeks to evaluate the progress that companies are making in factors that collectively comprise data culture, such as data search and discovery, data literacy, and data governance.

Alation was ranked in the top spot in Forrester’s recent Wave for Machine Learning Data Catalogs. “Alation provides an AI data expert for hire,” Forrester analyst Michele Goetz and company write in the report. “Alation exploits machine learning at every opportunity to improve data management, governance, and consumption by analytic citizens.”

Sangani says Alation has maintained the lead in the data catalog space because of its focus on product development.

“Alation is the best because it’s the easiest to use,” the CEO writes in a blog post today. “And, we’re also the most sophisticated. We haven’t focused on building complex, packaged software that checks every single box, but we have focused on delivering what our customers need. Time and again, we’ve put people first.”

The Series D was led by Riverwood Capital with participation from new investors Sanabil Investments and Snowflake Ventures. Also participating were existing investors Costanoa Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital, Icon Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, and Union Grove Partners, according to the company’s press release. Alation’s total funding now stands at $217 million.

“We are excited to partner with Satyen, Aaron [Kalb, co-founder and chief data and analytics officer], and the incredibly talented team at Alation as they build the next category defining data intelligence platform,” said Jeff Parks, co-founding partner and managing partner of Riverwood Capital. “As a pioneer of the modern data catalog, Alation is uniquely positioned to help enterprises create thriving data cultures and is fundamentally re-shaping the process for making confident data-driven decisions.”

What excites Sangani about this financing, he writes in the blog post, is that it enables the company to build out new capabilities to help more people.

“We can bring more intelligence to how people consume, manage, and create data,” he writes. “With this funding, we can empower more users with new use cases; these include data privacy, data discovery, data sharing, and data acquisition.”

The participation by Snowflake’s venture arm portends more integration between Alation and the cloud data warehousing giant. Be on the lookout for announcements at next week’s Snowflake Summit that seek “deep product integrations” that bolster the user experiences of users who use both products.

The new strategic investment from Snowflake Ventures will significantly expand the partnership and joint value proposition for Snowflake and Alation customers. In addition to the investment, the two companies are planning to enhance user experience through deep product integrations and joint go-to-market initiatives. Alation will be featured in presentations during Snowflake’s user conference, Snowflake Summit, taking place virtually on June 8-10, 2021.

Related Items:

Beware of 2020 Data, Alation Says

Data Culture ‘Disconnect’ Identified in New Index

Cataloging Alation’s Growth Potential