Prefect Raises $32M To Be The ‘Toothpick’ In Companies’ Data Stack

Washington, D.C.-based Prefect closed a $32 million Series B led by Tiger Global Management to help eliminate data flow problems for companies’ data teams.

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Other investors in the Series B included new investor Bessemer Venture Partners, existing investor Positive Sum and others. Founded in 2018, the company has raised more than $45 million to date.

Prefect’s dataflow automation platform allows companies to streamline their workflows and schedule when applications run. Most applications have a preset schedule to run — which at times does not correlate with what a company is using it for — and Prefect can help customize when it runs and make sure it is taking in all the data it should.

As the modern data stack explodes for companies, founder and CEO Jeremiah Lowin said one can think of the platform as the toothpick in a sandwich that holds it all together.

“Most people find scheduling boring,” he said. “We love it.”

Timing right

Prefect has watched its commercial product grow 130 percent quarter to quarter since debuting in the market early last year, Lowin said. While the company does not release financials, Lowin said the company has a “few hundred” customers in several verticals, especially financial services and health care.

The company will use the fresh capital to add to both its 25-person team and its product, Lowin said. “We are on this growth trajectory and we wanted to partner with growth firms that live this every day,” he said. “These firms are experts in the type of growth we are experiencing.”

The company is looking to expand in a market with little competition. Lowin said aside from companies trying to build their own solution, open-source workflow management platform Apache Airflow is likely Prefect’s biggest competitor. Notably, Lowin said he used Apache Airflow while working at a hedge fund before founding Prefect.

Ethan Kurzweil at Bessemer said making an investment in Prefect was an obvious decision after looking at the need in the market.

“Historically, large tech companies have built out this type of software in-house, resulting in massive frustration in implementation and user experience for data teams,” he said.

Kurzweil said he sees a big future for Prefect in the emerging sector: “We believe there is a huge outcome ahead should they continue their path as an independent company given the impact they are having on users, customers, partners and other major players in the new data infrastructure stack.

“Suitors will always come, but Prefect has all of the elements to be an enduring business that forges its own path,” he said.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

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