March 2, 2024
Data transformation startup Prophecy lands $35M investment | TechCrunch


Prophecy, a low-code development platform for companies to transform their data, today announced that it raised $35 million in a Series B funding round led by Insight Partners and SignalFire with participation from J.P. Morgan, Singtel Innov8, Databricks Ventures and DallasVC.

The new cash, which brings Prophecy’s total capital raised to $67 million, will be put toward scaling the Prophecy platform and customer acquisition efforts, co-founder and CEO Raj Bains told TechCrunch in an email interview.

“The pandemic and economic slowdown had temporary slowdowns in buying software that lasted a couple of quarters each,” Bains said. “However, enterprise spend has held, and Prophecy is doubling revenue every two quarters despite these slowdowns — putting us in a very strong position.”

Bains launched Prophecy after stints at Microsoft and Nvidia, where he worked on optimizing hardware performance and building the software infrastructure necessary to run AI compute workloads. After graduating to product manager of Apache Hive, an open source system for summarizing and analyzing data and querying data structures, Bains came to believe that the platforms on the market to transform data weren’t adequate for today’s AI and analytics projects.

“Data transformation has been identified as a bottleneck for two decades now,” Bains said. “Some organizations have tried to move to a code-only approach and hit a different set of challenges — most importantly, that data analysts and other non-coders can no longer serve themselves.”

He might have a point.

According to a 2021 survey from Wakefield Research, revenue and decision-making often suffers when enterprises build their own data pipelines. Companies responding to the poll report a median of 12 data engineers who spend 44% of their time on data engineering at an average cost at $520,000 — a significant capital and human resource investment by any measure.

A separate survey — this one from cloud analytics software vendor Matillion — found that data teams are overextending themselves to meet business demands. Eighty-four percent of data engineers responding to the poll described the volume of their workload as exceeding their capacity, while 34% said that it takes close to — or over half — of their workday to integrate, collect and transform data per project.

Prophecy’s solution is what Bains calls “visual development” combined with code. The platform provides a drag-and-drop interface that customers can use to build code-based data pipelines with reliability guarantees, as well as what Prophecy refers to as “packages” — reusable components containing business and operational logic plus code.

Prophecy

Prophecy leverages code and automation to make building data pipelines simpler.

Prophecy, which is available as a fully managed cloud or on-premises service, also offers a tool, Data Copilot, that leverages large language models and an organization-specific knowledge graph to facilitate data transformations. Data Copilot builds data transformation pipelines from natural language prompts that describe a desired data transformation, eliminating the need to build them with code or the drag-and-drop editor. (Think OpenAI’s ChatGPT, but for generating data pipelines.)

“Enterprise data has a productivity problem — not enough data users are enabled to ship trusted data for analytics and AI,” Bains said. “Prophecy enables self-service data transformation for a broader class of users, especially non-coding data teams in the lines of business. The platform turns visual pipelines into open source code including PySpark, Scala or SQL, ensuring customers are never locked in and enabling best software practices through code.”

Prophecy has rivals in Coalesce, which offers data transformation tools geared mainly toward enterprise customers; Informatica and Talend; and Incorta and Etleap.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of cash to go around in the market for data integration. Grand View Research predicts that the segment, which was worth $11.91 billion in 2022, will grow 12.3% from 2023 to 2030.

Bains claims that Prophecy, which has around 100 employees, is used by “thousands” of users across “multiple” Fortune 500 companies today, including banks, healthcare providers and tech vendors. Revenue has grown 400% year-over-year since Prophecy’s Series A in January.

“Most customers start with buying software licenses for hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the largest customers are over a million dollars,” Bains said. “Prophecy helps put analytics- and AI-ready data into more hands, more quickly — speeding time to value and data-driven decision making. These are all advantages chief data officers typically care about.”

As a part of the latest investment, former Hortonworks president Herb Cunitz will join Prophecy as a board member and J.P. Morgan managing director Elena Zislin will join as a board observer.



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