10 European data science start-ups to watch

18 Oct 2018

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Europe has a fascinating array of data science companies transforming the world of business. Here are the ones to watch.

When it comes to areas such as data science, artificial intelligence (AI) and other avenues of deep tech, Europe is killing it.

Last November at Slush in Helsinki, Tom Wehmeier, partner and research director at venture capital firm Atomico, revealed how European start-ups are now producing more software engineers than their US counterparts, with 5.5m compared with 4.4m in the US. He noted that European tech firms such as Zalando and Spotify are absorbing the battle for talent by building their companies in a distributed way across Europe.

“In deep tech, Europe is going big. The European deep-tech firms want to scale themselves, and the world’s biggest investors want to back them. Some $3.5bn is on track for investment in deep tech in Europe,” Wehmeier said.

In terms of data and the science of data, it is worth noting that Europe has form in this area. For example, a researcher at CERN called Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web as part of a proposal for an information management system in 1989.

The tradition continues with innovative young European companies that are taking the fabric of data and helping it reach its full potential.

Here are the ones to watch in 2019.

Algolia (Paris)

Algolia is a software-as-a-service start-up that was founded in Paris in 2012 and has offices in San Francisco. A hosted search engine API, Algolia provides product teams with the resources and tools they need to create fast, relevant searches. A funding round in June 2017 led by Accel yielded an incredible $53m. Overall funding raised by Algolia is understood to stand at $74.3m.

Aylien (Dublin)

Aylien is a Dublin data science platform that offers AI-powered content analysis solutions. The brainchild of CEO Parsa Ghaffari, Aylien’s Text Analysis API is a package of eight tools for natural language processing, machine learning and information retrieval, to easily extract valuable meaning from documents. Founded in 2011, Aylien last year announced 70 new jobs after receiving €2m in funding in a round led by Atlantic Bridge University Fund along with existing investors SOSV and Enterprise Ireland.

Avora (London)

Avora is a next-generation data intelligence solution powered by machine learning, providing what it calls ‘business intelligence as a service’. Founded in 2014 by Ricky Thomas, it last year raised £1.5m from investors including Crane Venture Partners, Ricardo Schaefer, Peter Simon (founder of clothing retailer Monsoon) and Steve Garnett (former chair of Salesforce EMEA). A recent £600,000 funding round has brought funding so far to £2.9m.

Boxever (Dublin)

Boxever uses big data and predictive analytics to gather and analyse customer data in real time, creating a single customer view that powers one-to-one marketing and personalisation. Founded in 2011 by Dave O’Flanagan, Dermot O’Connor and Alan Giles, Boxever has raised $19m in funding so far from investors that include Polaris Partners, Silicon Valley Bank and Frontline Ventures.

Decibel Insight (London)

Decibel Insight reveals exactly how users behave on websites and within apps, making it easier for enterprise businesses to quantify and improve customer experience. Founded in 2013 by Ben Harris and Timothy de Paris, Decibel last year raised $9m in a Series A round led by Eight Roads Ventures alongside Sigma Prime Ventures.

FinScience (Milan)

FinScience is a data analytics platform for the financial sector. Using AI algorithms, the platform collects and analyses large amounts of structured and unstructured data to identify trends, both in the medium and long term. Founded last year by former senior managers at Google, Fabrizio Milano d’Aragona, Alessandro Arrigo, Mauro Arte and Claudio Zamboni, FinScience has raised a seed round of €1m from a number of angel investors.

Knime (Zurich)

Swiss data science company Knime has created a leading open solution for data-driven innovation, designed for discovering the potential hidden in data, mining for fresh insights or predicting new futures. Founded by Michael Berthold, Knime raised €20m in an investment led by Invus last year.

Oden Technologies (London)

Founded in London and with offices also in New York, data science player Oden Technologies has developed a cloud-based data analytics platform for industrial IoT applications. Its software pulls data from existing enterprise resource planning and quality control systems on the manufacturing line and provides real-time analytics based on the data. It was founded by Peter Brand and Willem Sundblad in 2014. In July, it raised $10m in a Series A round led by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström’s Atomico as well as EQT Ventures, bringing total funding raised to $15.9m.

Siren (Galway)

Semantic data science intelligence company Siren’s platform leverages relationships across numerous datasets, creating meaningful and accessible data along with dashboard analytics, knowledge graphs and real-time alerts. Founded by Dr Giovanni Tummarello and Dr Renaud Delbru and led by CEO John Randles, Siren earlier this year secured €3m in a seed round, bringing total investment so far to €4m.

Zeotap (Berlin)

Zeotap is a big-data platform that has allowed telecoms and marketers to use privacy-compliant customer data for advertising. Founded by Daniel Heer and Projjol Banerjea, Zeotap has raised $21.4m in total funding so far.

Disclosure: SOSV is an investor in Silicon Republic

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years