SafeGraph Raises $45M to Democratize Access to Places Data

Today, one company that’s been focused on becoming the definitive source of truth for data on physical places is announcing funding to build out its points of interest and mobility datasets and meet the increased demand for places data among retail and GIS technology providers.

SafeGraph — which powers analytics for organizations like Sysco, Ares Management, Choice Hotels, US Foods, and Verizon Media — picked up $45 million from Sapphire Ventures, as well as returning investors from previous rounds like Peter Thiel and Alex Rosen of Ridge Ventures. The company plans to use the funds to capitalize on the expanding market of data buyers and offer new ways for customers to buy data. Through a growing partner network and new data delivery mechanisms, SafeGraph will be allowing interested parties to access the exact data they need, wherever they need it.

SafeGraph’s broader vision

It’s part of a larger plan that CEO Auren Hoffman has developed to turn SafeGraph into the “ultimate destination for physical places data.” Hoffman is the previous founder and CEO of LiveRamp, the data connectivity platform for data onboarding and transferring offline data online for marketing purposes. Now at SafeGraph, Hoffman has been tasked with reaching out to some of the largest public and private institutions and providing the highest-quality places data to data science teams.

Already, SafeGraph has provided data for free to non-profits, governments, academics, and the press throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. The company has also created a community of more than 7,000 data scientists, who have collaborated on geospatial projects serving some of the most largest companies and organizations in the world.

“It’s a great time to build a data company,” says SafeGraph’s Vice President of Marketing Evan Barry. “Ten years ago, only the most advanced engineering teams were able to make use of external data. An order of magnitude more companies buy data today than did five years ago. That’s because a good engineer with a tool like Snowflake can be as productive as a great engineer was five to 10 years ago.” 

The location angle

Covid-19 accelerated the adoption of geospatial analytics within every industry, and particularly with places data. Barry says understanding deep structural information about physical places is even more important when there is an external event that accelerates the trajectory of change in the data. 

“We’ve been working tirelessly to deliver our data to those who need it in these challenging times,” he says. 

Barry says firms that are far along the curve of getting insights from their own data still need external data if they want to continue to get value from their data science expertise. Data on physical places is a key category of external data that is relevant to all industries.

“There is an opportunity to be the leader in making places data of the highest quality available to the growing number of organizations that can and need to leverage it in their analytics,” he says.

The outlook

Today’s announcement from SafeGraph marks a major milestone for the company, as it looks to further democratize access to data, in the long term, and generate accurate data about every physical place in the world. Barry says the extra capital will significantly accelerate growing SafeGraph’s selection from 7 million places to 7 billion places. The company plans to aggressively expand internationally, with a UK expansion coming next month. SafeGraph will also be adding more types of places and potentially making more acquisitions.

“We’re really focusing on how people can access our data. Traditionally we’ve primarily focused on providing flat files directly to our customers,” Barry says. “This funding will help us accelerate our partnerships, self-serve initiatives, and our recently launched API so that we can deliver our data to anyone who needs it, anywhere they need it.”

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

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