Bootstrapped Ataccama hungry to win global data management market

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital transformation has become life and death for businesses across virtually every industry. As organizations race to digitize, many business leaders are realizing the role of data in their road to recovery.

With an uptick in demand for data solutions, the global enterprise data management market is expected to be worth $122.9 billion USD by 2025, with hundreds of companies standing to benefit.

“The pandemic has really opened the eyes of a lot of CEOs about the importance of having a sustainable digital transformation initiative.”

One of these companies is Toronto-based Ataccama, which automates data governance, data quality, and master data management for organizations. The startup has been busy during the pandemic — launching a second-generation version of its platform and making its first acquisition.

Ataccama has also seen marked growth in customers and revenue over the last 12 months. Now, the bootstrapped startup has set its sights on geographic expansion, with plans to increase hires and open new offices in North America.

BetaKit spoke with Ataccama’s CEO of North America, Afshin Lotfi, about the company’s recent growth and what the future holds for the startup.

Ataccama offers a software platform designed to automate the often-tedious tasks associated with data management and governance. The platform, called Ataccama ONE, covers several disciplines in the broader sphere of data management, including data quality management, data profiling, and data integration.

Ataccama was spun out of Toronto data governance firm Adastra in 2007. The startup targets enterprises across a wide range of industries, and its customer base includes several Fortune 1000 firms, including American Airlines, TD Bank, and Fiserv.

The pandemic brought to light many gaps in data management practices, but at the same time, it has led many businesses to understand the value of data. Reflecting on the last year, Lotfi cited COVID-19 as one of the major catalysts of Ataccama’s recent growth.

“The pandemic has really opened the eyes of a lot of CEOs about the importance of having a sustainable digital transformation initiative,” Lotfi said, adding that many organizations are understanding the importance of data management as they pursue digital transformation.

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Ataccama is not the only data startup in Canada to see growth during the pandemic. Last year, ThinkData Works, which offers a data management platform, raised Series A capital ahead of a planned geographic expansion. Data Sentinel, which offers a data trust and compliance platform, raised seed funding in June to expand its customer base.

Lotfi claimed Ataccama has a particular advantage in this area: its ability to accelerate the digital transformation process. He said by installing just one tool covering the major aspects of data management and automating key tasks through AI, Ataccama can vastly accelerate the pace of digital adoption.

“This differentiator is accentuated by the fact that a lot of organizations need to move quickly, as opposed to maybe a different pace 12 months ago,” he added.

In its 14-year history, Ataccama has managed to grow without taking on any venture capital. Lotfi explained that there was little need for outside funding since the company was profitable early on, adding that this allowed the firm to grow while remaining independently owned.

“It allowed us to build the team in a way that was meant for long-term growth and long-term sustainability instead of a short exit,” Lotfi said. “Because of that, we have a very strong foundation as an organization.”

Ataccama has seen particularly notable growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lotfi claimed the company has grown its annual recurring revenue by 56 percent in the last 12 months. Ataccama also forecasted it will double its ARR each year based on its current growth plan.

The company has reached several other milestones. In November 2020, the company launched the second generation of its Ataccama ONE platform, which is aimed to provide a more artificial intelligence-driven and self-service-focused version of its original platform. Earlier this year, Ataccama also purchased data visualization startup Tellstory, marking its first acquisition.

The company has also added approximately 60 new customers over the last 12 months and 250 team members globally, including 70 in North America.

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As 2021 comes to a close, Ataccama is now looking to double its customer acquisition over the next year, and Lotfi said this will require geographic expansion.

Though Ataccama already has 10 offices globally, including in the United States, Europe, and Australia, Lotfi said the company is focused on boosting its presence in various regions, including North America. He noted that the company is eyeing Vancouver and Los Angeles as potential cities for Ataccama’s first west coast offices and has also shortlisted a few cities across the US for expansion.

Although Toronto is already Ataccama’s corporate headquarters, the city will also play a role in the company’s expansion plans. In the last year, Ataccama has hired 21 new employees in Toronto and is currently looking to add 45 additional team members across Canada. The startup also recently moved to a new, larger space in Toronto to accommodate the higher number of staff, although the company plans to take a hybrid approach to work as pandemic restrictions ease.

“We want to make sure that we are more regionally present across North America. That means growth in Toronto is essential, because it’s our corporate headquarters, and this is where a lot of the primary business tasks are carried [out],” Lotfi said.

As the data management segment grows and Ataccama pushes ahead with its market expansion plans, Lotfi said the company is focused on becoming the market leader in the data management space.

“The number one KPI is to make sure that as many organizations as possible can take advantage of the power of data,” he said. “That’s first and foremost.”

Feature image courtesy of Ataccama.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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