Samooha, a startup developing a “cross-cloud” data collaboration platform, today announced it has raised $12.5 million in a tranche of funding backed by Altimeter Capital and Snowflake Ventures, among others. CEO Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan says the cash injection – Samooha’s first – will be spent on product development and hiring; the plan is to grow the startup’s team from 14 developers to about 20 by the end of the year.
So you might be wondering, what exactly does Samooha do? In short, the platform enables companies to securely share, collaborate on, and gain insights from their own and their partners’ data, regardless of the underlying cloud and data stack.
It’s not a new concept. “Data clean rooms” have been around for a while, pitched by tech giants and startups alike as the ideal solution for sharing sensitive data in computing environments. Just a few years ago, Harbr raised $38.5 million for its technology to help companies securely exchange and share big data. InfoSum and Decentriq also offer secure data sharing tools, while Amazon Web Services recently launched a new data cleanroom product – aptly named Clean Rooms – aimed at organizations that regularly share data with external partners.
To the extent that Samooha has differentiated itself, it leans heavily on the Snowflake ecosystem — which isn’t exactly surprising given Snowflake’s involvement in the startup’s fundraising. Samooha, a native app on Snowflake, provides a no-code user interface that customers can use to access and build cleanroom apps. The underlying trust boundary of Snowflake’s native apps framework creates a secure computing environment, Sivaramakrishnan explained in an interview with australiabusinessblog.com, while eliminating the need for data migration.
“Security guarantees are both technically enforced through multi-party cryptographic computation technologies and with user-defined policies such as approved query templates. This enables fast and secure analysis of collaborative data in the cleanroom,” she added. “Think of a highly intuitive collaboration product experience like Slack, where you don’t just interact with colleagues in a channel, but actually learn, share, and collaborate around data owned by you and your partner by running analytic workloads without moving and moving data. secure in that channel or room.”
Samooha plans to target industries it believes to be particularly underserved, such as healthcare, financial services, advertising, retail and entertainment. Media in particular could prove to be lucrative; Gartner predicts that by 2023, 80% of advertisers with media budgets of $1 billion or more will use data cleanrooms.
Sivaramakrishnan claims that Samooha already has Fortune 500 clients, though she would not name names. The sales pitch was made easier by the pandemic, she says, because it highlighted the need for data collaboration in a secure manner across industries.
It probably depends on the industry – an August 2022 questionnaire Habu found that more than half of marketing professionals have never used a data cleanroom. But Samooha’s early traction suggests there is some truth to Sivaramakrishnan’s claims.
“Broadly speaking, leveraging customer, consumer and business data is a reality for every industry and every use case. But most companies have an incomplete view of customer and consumer data,” says Sivaramakrishnan. “The pandemic highlighted the need for data collaboration in a secure manner across multiple industries, be it healthcare, manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, and more. . . Our technology and product approach, combined with the commercial model, gives us the belief that we offer a unique solution for a critical business data function and thus have the potential to withstand headwinds.”