Domino Data Lab raises $27m in round led by hedge fund customer Coatue

Six months after closing $10.5 million, data science startup Domino Data Lab has raised an additional $27 million in a round led by one of its hedge fund customers, Coatue Management.
Written by Tas Bindi, Contributor
Image: Domino Data Lab

San Francisco-based Domino Data Lab has raised $27 million in a round led by one of its hedge fund customers, Coatue Management.

Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Zetta Venture Partners, and Bloomberg Beta also contributed to the round, which brings the total amount raised by the startup to $40.5 million.

Founded in 2013 by former Bridgewater Associates employees Nick Elprin, Chris Yang, and Matthew Granade, Domino has been described as the "Github for data science" as it offers a centralised environment where data science and quantitative research teams come to work.

The trio admitted they were influenced by their experience at the hedge fund, saying that Bridgewater was "ahead of much of the world in implementing a mature, disciplined, scalable process for developing models and algorithms."

"Every discipline of work has a 'system of record', a place where people 'do their work'. Sales teams use CRM, recruiting teams use applicant tracking systems, software engineers use version control. Domino is that same 'system of record' for teams of data scientists and quantitative researchers," Domino CEO Elprin told ZDNet.

Using Domino's data science platform, a user can create a cloud instance customised to specific tasks and install the analytics tools required. The platform's built-in automation features can be used alongside the analytics tools deployed in the cloud instance to start producing insights. All projects are recorded and stored centrally, viewable by team members, who can also provide input.

"You can ensure that anyone working on your project, even months later, will be working in the same environment, and won't have to deal with package setup or configuration. These features let data scientists run more experiments faster, and ultimately do research faster," Elprin said.

"Every time Domino runs your code, it records what happens. So it keeps a record of what you ran, what results were produced, what data and parameters were used. All of that work is stored centrally, so it's searchable, you can share and discuss work in teams. That creates more collaboration, while preserving organisational knowledge so it's easier to build upon work in the future."

Domino supports data-crunching technologies from Apache Spark to SAS and is compatible with programming languages that are popular among data scientists such as R.

The latest funding will be used by the startup to grow its engineering and marketing departments, as well as to support expansion into the European market.

As of November last year, Domino boasted more than 60 customers including Tesla, Instacart, Clorox, Lumosity, and Coatue, which became an investor.

Coatue, which uses data and advanced analytics to identify new investment strategies, has been a Domino customer for two years, according to a spokesperson.

Domino is not the only data science-related startup to attract funding this year. In February, Austin, Texas-based startup Data.World -- a social network, discovery tool, collaboration platform, and data repository -- raised $18.7 million, bringing its total investment to $32.7 million.

The following month, DataRobot, which automates machine learning, announced it has raised $54 million, bringing its total investment to $111 million, with additional funding expected to be closed in the near future.

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