On a bleak, frigid night, a lone entrepreneur steps out of a dark office building into the cold air. “Machine learning,” somebody inside the office whispers before the door clicks shut again, the words mixing with the sharp bounces of ping pong balls and the muffled sliding of a well-stocked snack drawer. Close by, a venture capitalist’s ears perk up.
Almost every company you see is talking about machine learning and data science right now--how they use it in their product, how it powers their business, how it helped them pick the perfect office dog. Every conversation, landing page, and board of directors call feels like a minefield of buzzwords. Big data? Check. Algorithms? Check. AI? As if you could leave that one out.
But most of the time those buzzwords are just that: words. “Most businesses have the desire to become more data informed in their decision making, and rightfully so, yet few have the resources or even truly understand what that means,” says Brian Hopcraft, the managing director of Lewis & Clark Ventures.
So how do you get to the nirvana state of data divination? Brian again: “Build your strategy atop software that empowers both technical and non-technical users to unlock the value that’s already sitting in your data.”
This magical software he’s referring to is built by a company called Big Squid, a Salt Lake City startup focused on predictive analytics and automated machine learning. Big Squid also happens to be Lewis & Clark Venture’s latest investment, in a $9 million Series A-1 funding round led by Lewis & Clark with participation from existing investors Silverton Partners, Signal Peak Ventures, and Kickstart Seed Fund. This takes Big Squid to over $18.5 million raised.
The $9 million will go towards further building out Big Squid’s Kraken platform, a tool for non-data scientists to pull out data-scientist-level insights--like correlations and predictions--from their company’s data.
“With this added investment we will be able to expedite focus on our product integrations with top data and analytics platforms, as well as growth of the team to execute quickly and bring automated machine learning power to more businesses faster,” says Chris Knoch, the CEO of Big Squid.
For more on Big Squid, read our previous profile.