Madison-based startup DataChat raised $4 million in an early-stage investment round led by Silicon Valley venture capital firms.
DataChat, which was founded by researchers and engineers at UW-Madison, aims to help businesses analyze data in an easier and more comprehensive way by using artificial intelligence, co-founder and CEO Jignesh Patel said.
“We have our initial version of a platform. We have initial customers,” Patel said. “We now want to go and take the product to the next level.”
With the $4 million in funding from venture capital firms WRVI Capital and Nepenthe Capital and individuals from Google and Palo Alto Networks, DataChat will hire more engineers and build a larger client base, Patel said.
DataChat helps users understand the insights that can be drawn out from data sets through an interactive platform, rather than just looking at a spreadsheet or relying on data dashboards that can only display certain data points.
DataChat lets users ask further questions about data, and the artificial intelligence can then look deeper and find more patterns or differences quickly without needing to develop a new program to identify those needs.
“Data analytics has been stuck in decades-old technologies that are people- and process-heavy,” said Christopher Ré, a Stanford University professor and adviser to DataChat, adding that DataChat’s technology allows more users to access insights into data analytics.
“The machine does what it does best,” Patel said. “It looks at the data and very quickly finds interesting patterns and presents that to the user in a consumable way so that they can then figure out the next step.”
Any industry collecting data can use DataChat, Patel said, from marketing firms seeking to create the best advertisements to manufacturers looking to predict faulty products.
These early-stage investments aren’t the first signal of DataChat’s potential. The company has also been awarded a total of about $975,000 through the federal Small Business Innovation Research program as well as matching grants from Wisconsin’s SBIR Advance program.
DataChat also won the information technology category of the 2018 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest and was a finalist in the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s 2018 Pressure Chamber pitch competition.