AirTree Ventures

AirTree joins Accel and Microsoft in $US33.5M Paxata investment

 by Yolanda Redrup, Australian Financial Review 

Local venture capital firm AirTree Ventures has joined the big league, investing in US data preparation startup Paxata alongside firms such as Accel Partners, Intel Capital and Microsoft Ventures.

The investment, which was part of a $US33.5 million fund raising effort for the startup which provides a do-it-yourself, visual approach to information management for enterprises, was the fifth international investment for the Australian VC fund this year.

AirTree Ventures managing partner Craig Blair said the investment was part of a broader strategy of allocating 20 per cent of its funds each year to offshore investments.

“We have another investment that we are yet to announce which will make six overseas investments this year,” he said.

“Investing in global platforms as strategic Australian partners has always been part of our mandate… Paxata has ambitious global expansion plans and Australia is a key market. We were able to leverage our deep experience of partnering with global platforms to launch in Australia to get into the round.”

Paxata enables businesses to make more informed decisions by collecting, cleaning and combining data from separate databases. It then uses artificial intelligence to “scrub” the data, allowing analysts to run live data preparation, which Mr Blair says is usually only able to be done by specialists.

Mr Blair said AirTree decided to invest because it had identified a trend of data analysis shifting from data scientists to business analysts and users.

“Data preparation is 80 per cent of the data universe and the customer base, growth and underlying metrics demonstrated that Paxata is now the world leader in the space,” he said.

“Paxata developed the platform in conjunction with the US government and is lead by a outstanding founding team with deep enterprise data experience.”

The capital raised will be used to further develop the platform’s machine learning and semantic analysis backbone and also to further expand the business into Europe and other international markets.

In April this year AirTree backed New Zealand-based corporate video startup 90 Seconds in a $10 million round, alongside one of the biggest VC firms in Silicon Valley, Sequoia Capital.

Earlier this month AirTree also made another data science investment, joining forces with Westpac’s Reinventure in a $1.25 million seed raise for artificial intelligence virtual data scientist Hyper Anna.

Mr Blair said there would be more and more cross-country venture capital deals.

“As technology companies globalise more rapidly, venture capital will follow,” he said.

“US venture firms often support Australian founders as they launch in the US and we will also see global companies who are expanding to Australia seek similar support.”

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