DataSift Closes $42M Series C Round

Rob Bailey
3rd December 2013 14 Comments

Today, I am excited to share with you that DataSift has closed a $42M Series C round of funding led by Insight Venture Partners with participation from existing investors Scale Venture Partners, Upfront Ventures, IA Ventures, Northgate Capital, Daher Capital and Cendana Capital. In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams jokingly posited that “42” was the meaning of the universe.  For us, it culminates a period of amazing growth and sets us up for our next phase.  As I reflect on the past few years and what the future holds, I realize that the holiday season seems to have a special significance for DataSift. At roughly this time last year, we announced our Series B funding, and two years ago I was alone in our U.S. office–my apartment–representing DataSift as it’s first U.S.-based employee.

How We Got Here

As 2013 comes to a close, DataSift is in a very exciting position. From our first Reading, U.K. based office, where our founder Nick Halstead and 20 employees developed a simple scripting language (CSDL) that would help organize unstructured social data, we’ve grown to a 100+ person company with offices in 3 countries. Established technology leaders like SAP, Oracle, Dell, IBM, Tableau and Splunk are leveraging the DataSift platform to rapidly integrate social data into their enterprise applications. Within the first year of DataSift’s launch, 8 of the top 10 news organizations in the U.S. were using DataSift to identify and track the spread of breaking news stories via social channels. And a new generation of creative applications like MarketWired’s Sysomos in Canada, U.K.-based Pulsar and LocalResponse in New York City are demonstrating how, thanks to the DataSift platform, companies are able to focus on game-changing product development rather than data management.

Where We Are Going

The speed at which social data is transforming information-based industries is positively staggering. If we look at just three of the core use cases for social, you’ll start to get an idea of just how massive it will be. Brand monitoring is expected to grow 300% to $6B1 in the next few years and social advertising will grow from $7Bto $24B3.  The use of social data in global call centers, a $150B industry that will grow to $340B4, will be big as well. Let’s assume that only 10% of the total business has a social use case, it’s still a $34B market to serve. In short, from just three use cases, social data will power a $70B economy. A wide range of secondary use cases for social data including investor relations, product development, financial analysis and supply chain management will drive further growth. All of this indicates that we are still in the early days. Social data is going to transform enterprise decision-making.

How We Will Invest The Money

  1. Power the Platform: Most importantly, we will use the funding to accelerate the leadership of the DataSift platform. In a market developing as fast as social data, it is important to evolve and ensure that the rapidly-changing needs of our customers are met.

  2. Power our Ecosystem: We will continue to make our platform easier for companies to use by partnering with our application & BI partners to launch solutions for emerging uses of social data in the enterprise.

  3. Power our Growth: We will continue to expand. We already have team members in three countries and customers in more than 40. Our team needs to grow to meet their demands. On that note, we’re hiring. Come join the social data leaders.

Why We Picked Insight Venture Partners

Given our growth and position at the intersection of several trends — big data, social, cloud, SaaS — we were in the very fortunate position of picking which fund we wanted to work with. Insight had:

  • An Established Track Record in Social: Insight’s previous experience investing successfully in Twitter, Buddy Media, HootSuite and Tumblr meant they immediately understood our company’s vision and the size of the opportunity.

  • Conviction: Insight’s previous record in social meant they also pursued a deal with us with conviction. Once Insight co-founder Jeff Horing was convinced that he wanted to do the deal with us, he mobilized his team to move fast and decisively, which included putting partners on planes and flying to the UK to spend our time with our founder and product team. Their willingness to do what it takes made a huge difference for us. We are a company that likes to move really fast and it was nice to see a fund that liked to move fast as well.

  • Operational Focus: Scaling a fast growing SaaS company is tough work and we are pulling in all of the possible expertise we can.  Most people don’t know this, but Insight has an extremely talented internal consulting team that work with their portfolio companies to accelerate their growth.  We spent some pretty long hours during due diligence with them and were extremely impressed with their ability to help us think through tough scaling issues.

Who We Want To Thank

While the growth of DataSift has been a great ride so far, there is a long list of important people who have played a critical role in our success to date. I wish I could thank all of them individually.  Most importantly I would like to thank the hundreds of customers who have realized our vision of a social data economy. Second, our incredible, hard-working team in the UK, Canada and the U.S. constantly amazes and humbles me by the quality of their work and how committed they are to our customers’ success. Of course, we would like to thank our partners, especially everyone at Twitter. Jana, Zach, Conway, Shilpa, Mark, Doug Williams & the rest are building one of the best Business Development teams in tech right now and it’s been great to work with them. And finally, we would like to thank our investors/board members, Mark Suster, Rory O’Driscoll, Roger Ehrenberg and Chris Smart who have worked as hard as our employees to scale the company.

This is a great milestone in the growth and development of DataSift and we are excited for the next phase of the company.  While I can’t predict what 2014 has in store, I do know the best is yet to come.

– Rob

Gartner 2013 [Global CRM attributable to social will rise from 8% to 16%]
2BIA/Kelsey 2013
3eMarketer 2012
4GIA 2012

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 10.06.59 Interested in learning how to integrate social data into your decision-making process? Download Beyond the Hashtag: A Field Guide to Social Data Maturity now.
Rob Bailey

Written by Rob Bailey

Rob Bailey is the CEO of DataSift.

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