Data Community Fund gathers $15m for inaugural fund

Data Community Fund, a venture firm that is a spin-off of Data Council, has raised $15 million for its debut fund.

Data Community Fund, a venture firm that is a spin-off of Data Council, has raised $15 million for its debut fund. The fund will focus on early-stage B2B startups.

PRESS RELEASE

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Backed by many of the world’s most prominent VCs and data experts, new venture capital firm Data Community Fund (DCF) launched its first fund designed to discover early-stage B2B startups, built by world-class engineers, who are advancing the future of data and AI. DCF spun out of Data Council, an enormously popular global event series and AI talent community, in order to provide funding, connections and operational support to engineer-founders.

The firm is led by Data Council founder, serial entrepreneur and engineer Pete Soderling. A pioneer in the data engineering world, Soderling’s mission is to help 1,000 engineers start companies. To achieve this milestone and create the next generation of great data companies, Soderling has recruited dozens of data experts as limited partners from the Data Council community for the initial $15 million fund, including: David Aronchick, Head of Open Source Machine Learning Strategy at Microsoft, Co-founder of Kubeflow; Bhaskar Ghosh, Former Head of Data Infrastructure at LinkedIn; Aaron Schildkrout, Former Head of Data at Uber; Keith Adams, Former Chief Architect of Slack; as well as firms like Bain Capital Ventures, Foundation Capital, Insight Partners and AngelList.

“The network we established is all about engineers — some of whom have little idea how to operate a company. But they do know how to build something that could change the world,” said Soderling. “DCF has a unique opportunity to help facilitate vital connections while adding the operational expertise and capital necessary to get an engineer-founded company off the ground. We help engineer-founders lay the foundation for success.”

Laser Focused on Data Companies
Technologies like machine learning, AI and data science are poised to unleash unprecedented transformation across nearly every business sector. Notable IPOs, such as Snowflake, have also proven that data infrastructure has become ripe territory for new investments, spurring the emergence of a new class of data companies. DCF is the only micro-fund with a dedicated data thesis, plus a worldwide community of technical professionals, to capitalize on these trends.

The firm quietly began investing last year, focusing on early-stage investments in B2B data-oriented companies across horizontal (data infrastructure, ML tooling, data platforms) and vertical (AI applied to specific sectors, such as healthcare, finance or manufacturing) axes. DCF is particularly interested in founders who have created open source data projects with demonstrable traction, and engineers who have solved gnarly data issues at scale and then make cornerstone pieces of generalizable software available to the world. Current portfolio companies that fit these descriptions include Superconductive (the company behind the popular Great Expectations data testing project), Grid, Era Software and Hex.

From DCF, portfolio companies can expect more than a check and simple advice. The firm leverages its deeply technical Data Council community to offer support and company-building help to engineers launching companies at the earliest stages of their startup journey. Specifically, DCF assists in identifying the right co-founder(s), finding and speaking with early customers, developing go-to-market strategy, hiring technical experts, pitching VCs and fundraising. Its deep expertise in the data ecosystem also gives DCF a unique perspective on promoting and commercializing successful open-source data projects.

“Data Council is one of the best aggregations of data professionals in the world. It’s like Davos for the geek-first data community,” said Abe Gong, Co-founder and CEO of Superconductive. “Pete applies the same energy and deep understanding of founder-engineers to DCF which is an asset in building the next wave of great data companies.”

Value Add of Data Council
Six years ago, Soderling established Data Council to provide the data community a space to work through nascent ideas across the data ecosystem and solve problems in ways they couldn’t at their day jobs. Since then, Data Council has grown into a highly trusted global community that brings top talent together. The network has over 120,000 deeply technical data scientists, engineers, analysts and AI researchers as members. Data Council operates multi-day conferences globally, has 18 worldwide meetups and over 3 million views on its YouTube channel. Data Council Austin will be its first in-person event since the start of the pandemic and is scheduled to occur on January 27-28, 2022.

The strength of the Data Council community enables DCF to source very early-stage deals sometimes at the moment the companies are formed. Via its expert network, it can vet new technologies much earlier than most other firms, opening the door for DCF to invest in the best deals and partner with tier-one VCs for subsequent rounds. The firm’s approach has already been proven. Before ever launching the fund, Soderling built the leading data and AI syndicate on AngelList and has invested alongside Sequoia, Index, Foundation, Bain Capital Ventures, First Round and CRV, many of which are DCF limited partners today.
To learn more about DCF, please visit www.dcf1.vc.