CNBC Disruptor 50

35. DataRobot

Founders: Jeremy Achin, Tom de Godoy
CEO: Dan Wright
Launched: 2012
Headquarters: Boston
Funding:
$1.1 billion
Valuation: $6.3 billion
Key technologies:
Artificial intelligence, explainable AI, machine learning
Industry:
Enterprise technology
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 0

Persephone Kavallines

DataRobot is powering up in the booming AI software market, which is projected to increase 21% to $62.5 billion this year.  

The pain point that Boston-based DataRobot seeks to solve for customers is dealing with billions of data points and figuring out signals through the noise. DataRobot is competing with several big data software providers including H20.ai, Dataiku, and Databricks in this developing sector as it aims to help organizations better anticipate change and finetune business models for more accurate decisions.

DataRobot has executed more than 1 million AI projects and delivered over 1 trillion predictions to global customers, including one-third of the Fortune 50.

Recently, DataRobot extended its AI cloud platform to handle industry-specific tasks ranging from retail to healthcare to banking to manufacturing. Using its algorithms, tasks such as managing inventory levels to predicting a loan default to automatically classifying product defects can be done. Such work in data storage and retrieval, and predictive analytics earned the company two U.S. patents in 2021.

Despite AI talent in high demand, the company has made several hires with strong tech backgrounds. Earlier this year, DataRobot named Google's Debanjan Saha as its new chief operating officer. Saha most recently oversaw the analytics business for Google Cloud, and previously led the development of Amazon Aurora, a relational database for the cloud. Dan Wright joined the company as CEO in 2020 after serving as COO of Cisco-acquired AppDynamics. Damon Fletcher, named CFO in May 2021, was most recently at Tableau Software, which was purchased by Salesforce in 2019.  

Their appointments came after founder and CEO Jeremy Achin was pushed out in March 2021 by DataRobot's board of directors, partly because of a conflict resulting from his resistance to taking the company public. DataRobot was co-founded in 2012 by former Travelers Insurance colleagues Achin and Tom de Godoy, the former CTO who also left the start-up.

In July 2021, DataRobot drew in $300 million in a Series G financing round that pegged the company's value at $6.3 billion, more than double the previous round that took place less than a year before. Return investors were Tiger Global and Altimeter Global while newcomers were Sutter Hill Ventures, Franklin Templeton and Counterpoint Global at Morgan Stanley.  

Throughout, DataRobot has been upgrading features to its AI Cloud platform for data forecasting and visual AI imaging. In 2021, it also expanded its offerings for the public sector.

The U.S. Army, for example, has used the company's AI solution to predict contracts that were likely to come in under budget, and identified nearly $2 billion for reallocation. DataRobot also recently won a five-year, $249 million contract from the Department of Defense to accelerate the government's use of emerging AI technologies.

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