Machine learning automation startup DataRobot Inc. said today it has raised $270 million in new funding on a $2.7 billion valuation in what the company describes as “pre-IPO funding,” suggesting that it has plans to go public in the near future.
The Series F round was led by Altimeter Capital and included T. Rowe Price, BlackRock, Tiger Global, Silver Lake Waterman, B Capital Group, Glynn Capital, ClearBridge, NEA and Sapphire Ventures.
Founded in 2012, DataRobot uses artificial intelligence to offer a platform that automates and accelerates what it calls the “intelligence revolution.” The company’s platform enables users to build custom AI models without having to write code.
DataRobot’s algorithms can look at the data the user is looking to process, find a neural network suitable for the task and then automatically fine-tune it to boost performance. DataRobot also handles intermediary steps such as organizing records for analysis. The company claims that its platform simplifies development to the point that building a machine learning model becomes possible even for workers who don’t know how to code.
The company provides a simple drag-and-drop interface designed to accommodate users of varying technical backgrounds. Users upload the files they want to process, then highlight elements of interest, and DataRobot does the rest with an algorithm that allows the data to be matched to any application to provide analytical capabilities.
DataRobot was already a unicorn startup prior to this round, having surpassed a $1 billion valuation as of its Series D round in October 2018 and Series E round in September 2019.
“The massive secular tailwinds driven by data, the cloud and business intelligence have been central to our most significant investments in the last decade – and yet we are just getting started,” Brad Gerstner, founder and chief executive officer of Altimeter Capital, said in a statement. “For too long, AI-driven insights were a distant promise but we have hit an inflection point and DataRobot is at the front of the pack in terms of democratizing AI-driven business intelligence.”
When DataRobot moves forward with an IPO is open to speculation. Given its Series F round is late-stage funding, there are only two paths open to the company to return value to its investors going forward: IPO or acquisition. The IPO option is the more likely at this point given that DataRobot describes the round as being “pre-IPO.”
If DataRobot does decide to go public in the near future, it won’t be alone in terms of AI companies going public. Enterprise software AI company C3.ai Inc. filed its IPO prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 13. Other tech companies with unicorn valuations are also lining up for December IPOs, including Airbnb Inc., DoorDash Inc., Roblox, Wish and Affirm.
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