A photo is uploaded to Instagram. Millions of gallons of water course through pipes deep below the street. A plane meanders across the early morning sky. Data can be found everywhere in the world, this isn’t the challenge. The challenge is knowing how to pull it together in a way that allows for understanding and intelligent action.
Today we are pleased to announce that Enigma has raised a $28.2M Series B round to help unify and make sense of the world’s data. This round, led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), marks an exciting opportunity to rapidly scale our amazing team of engineers, data scientists and all around brilliant people. (We’re hiring for a wide range of roles, come take a look). We also are expanding our circle of trusted advisors to include Scott Sandell, our newest board member and managing general partner at NEA, as well as Forest Baskett, former CTO of Silicon Graphics and Greg Papadopoulos, former CTO of Sun Microsystems. Together, along with our investors at Two Sigma Ventures, American Express Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Crosslink Capital, The New York Times Company, and the New York City Investment Fund, we are excited for the future ahead.
When we started Enigma four years ago, we were focused on providing a single platform to unify all of the world’s public data, a mission that continues to sit at the heart of what we do. As we pursued this vision, we learned that it was essential for us to not only have the data, but to be able to interpret it. So we set out to find signals in the data we were collecting and to enrich it with semantic and linked properties. This has enabled us to do a diverse set of things, from helping lenders extend credit to small businesses, to helping the city of New Orleans prevent fire deaths. As our engagement with the Fortune 500 grew deeper, it became apparent that they shared many of the same problems that governments have when it comes to wrangling their data and dealing with problems of ontology and master data management. To address this problem we created Abstract–an abstraction of our public data stack–to help unify, link and augment any organization’s vast troves of internal data.
It is inspiring to see how open data, an idea first conceived of to increase government transparency, can be extended to the enterprise as an operating model. When everything in an organization has an API, the transparency and analytic benefit that can be yielded is huge.
The biggest problem that remains, however, is making sure that data has a deep reference value that can be evoked in any context. How does an algorithm know that the building called 123 Sesame Street in one database system is the same one known as 40.8853769, -73.2371336 in another or as 225A7Q in yet another? When we merge data across systems, how can we be sure that we are speaking of the same thing?
As both a content and technology company, Enigma is leveraging what we already know about the world through the public record to help bootstrap ontologies that solve this problem. As we work to build a future of strong semantics for data exchange, our hope is that this will be a foundation to connect data back to the world that produced it and drive positive and impactful change.
(The cover image for this post was sourced from NASA’s Visible Earth project)