Information is the brand new oil, because the saying goes, and at this time a startup that’s serving to firms mine for it’s saying a serious funding spherical to develop its enterprise on the again of robust development.
Atheneum, which gives a platform for firms to conduct and analyze analysis sourced by digital interviews and surveys with stakeholders (that’s, analysis options that embrace qualitative skilled consultations, quantitative surveys, and massive information merchandise to parse the outcomes), has closed $150 million in funding.
CEO Mathias Wengeler mentioned it plans to make use of the funds to proceed increasing geographically, hiring extra individuals for its groups, and constructing out its expertise. At the moment Atheneum is utilized by some 500 giant enterprises — with prospects spanning verticals like life sciences, strategic consulting corporations, funding companies, and telecoms, media and tech corporations — masking a community of some 680,000 specialists and so-called opinion leaders and a whole bunch of 1000’s of surveys and interviews.
The startup was based in Berlin a bit over a decade in the past and now has a second base in New York, and notably, it’s already worthwhile. This funding — led by Guidepost Progress Fairness with participation from unnamed restricted companions; present traders Crosslantic Capital Administration, Michael Brehm, Vogel Communications Group; and Atheneum’s founding administration crew — thus is coming opportunistically to leap on what has been robust development for the startup, particularly within the final 12 months: in 2020 the corporate grew practically 50%, Wengeler mentioned, and this 12 months development has bumped as much as 80%.
Atheneum’s development is approaching the again of two tendencies on the planet of enterprise.
The primary is an even bigger shift to digital transformation that we’ve been witnessing, spurred by the enforced distant working practices that got here out of Covid-19. Particularly, firms want instruments to allow them to proceed finishing up work in additional virtualised codecs, and Atheneum has created a framework for people who have usually sourced information by dwell interactions to maintain doing that utilizing instruments like Zoom, on-line surveys, and cloud-based analytics to “learn” and higher perceive all of the ensuing information.
The second pattern is that firms making strategic choices primarily based on information and suggestions from the sphere are more and more desirous to faucet into improvements in information science and expertise total to extend their entry to extra information and insights.
This second pattern has been rising for years and predates the pandemic, which can be one of many causes traders have been knocking: these are tendencies that transcend circumstantial ones which may evolve when/if we return again to our extra conventional work patterns). Wengeler and his co-founders Ammad Ahmad and Marta Margolis (pictured above) all beforehand labored in administration consulting, and Wengeler mentioned that he was moved to start out Atheneum to extra straight deal with that chance.
“Major and uncooked information had been on the market already,” he mentioned, “however their significance is growing. What a physician sees [firsthand] has a serious affect on how a pharmaceutical firm plans its technique for commercialization and extra, and that’s totally different in each nation. I felt that the world was getting extra internationalized and we wanted extra uncooked information, we wanted extra market analysis. We see Atheneum as a platform for data, primarily based on being a one-stop-shop for main analysis.”
Roshen Menon, who led the funding for Guidepost, additionally notes that can be a mirrored image of how firms themselves have developed to construct extra specialised merchandise.
“I believe the elemental shift has been from a reliance on secondary to main analysis,” he mentioned. “Corporations wish to do their analysis straight. The second shift within the broader analysis tech area has the lengthy and broad analysis strategy. Issues have gotten extra specialised. ‘Let’s take a survey and perceive this particular downside.’
“In life sciences, we now have seen a shift from blockbuster medication to specialised analysis and medication and coverings for so-called orphan illnesses. And there may be far more of that throughout all industries. Companies like Atheneum’s actually enable prospects to get entry and insights from a sea of knowledge.”
On high of this, presenting this platform as a SaaS-style cloud service, which mixes each expertise and human interplay to higher tailor it to the wants of the purchasers as wanted — and naturally alongside the people who’re offering the uncooked information within the first place — matches in with how plenty of companies wish to have interaction with expertise and IT companies lately.
That can imply an growing variety of opponents to Atheneum that will likely be seeking to leverage their very own attain and instruments to dive deeper into the ‘analysis as a service’ area. That might embrace extra exercise from survey and direct advertising firms like SurveyMonkey or MailChimp, and even firms like Saleforce or Microsoft’s LinkedIn that wish to construct an ever-bigger set of instruments to assist individuals do enterprise extra effectively.
And even firms like Google, which so far have centered surveys extra on client responses which might be offered as promoting items (you will have come throughout these on websites like YouTube), however clearly have an enormous alternative to construct extra cloud-based companies to cater to their rising roster of enterprise prospects which may higher leverage their in-house huge information and AI capabilities. Wengeler mentioned that so far, LinkedIn has been one of many extra lively and fascinating gamers in constructing new instruments which may most straight compete with what it builds.
It’s nonetheless an enormous alternative: Atheneum cites figures from Deloitte that estimate the info and intelligence market is price some $22 billion presently.
Atheneum, partly on account of elevating comparatively little cash beforehand and partly a results of focusing simply on its development and shopper enterprise, has been considerably beneath the radar till now. To that finish, it isn’t disclosing its valuation at this time. However as an indicator of the place it is likely to be, Wengeler confirmed that the startup had raised lower than $20 million beforehand, and that this newest funding provides new backers a minority stake with the founders remaining the largest shareholders within the firm.
Menon, who’s taking a board seat with this spherical, added in an interview that Atheneum is making “nicely north” of $50 million in income yearly.