When it comes to detecting events transpiring anywhere in the world, few companies hold a candle to Dataminr. Founded in 2009, the company has raised more than $1 billion over the past 12 years (including $475 million at a $4.1 billion valuation just this past March) to build out a data-gobbling platform that transforms raw inputs into actionable event intelligence.
Those events are sent to a variety of customers — corporate security professionals, supply chain risk analysts, even journalists — for whatever purpose they need in their work. CEO and co-founder Ted Bailey said that the company has made event detection its core skillset. It’s “all been geared to the detection of events,” he said. “What we have never built into our corporate product is an advanced geospatial platform,” that would allow users to visualize risks rather than just getting a push notification or an email.
That’s about to change, as the company announced today its first acquisition in its corporate history with the purchase of UK-based WatchKeeper. WatchKeeper’s platform was designed to help corporate physical security executives visualize how events could affect a company’s assets. For instance, a bank with branches in Florida needs to understand what happens if a hurricane is heading toward the peninsula.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, although Bailey said that “it’s a mature product — this is by no means an acquihire.” WatchKeeper, which was founded in 2018, previously raised £1 million from venture capitalists, according to Crunchbase.
“Different organizations have extremely different needs, and these events have extremely different impacts on these corporations given the geographical footprint of their physical assets and their moving assets,” Bailey said. “This is something that we have zeroed in on [at Dataminr] more and more over the past couple of years.”
The startup had been on Dataminr’s radar even prior to the company’s inception. Hugh Farquhar, the founder and CEO of WatchKeeper, formerly worked at Citibank where Bailey said he built out a platform for contextualizing Dataminr alerts for the bank’s executives. After he left, Farquhar decided to build a similar platform for all companies.
As word got out about WatchKeeper’s product, Bailey saw an opportunity to bring Dataminr closer to the nascent company. “We were aggressively exploring a partnership with them for the last 6-12 months where we were scoping and imagining the possibilities of working together,” he said. “We had already selected them as the key innovator in data visualization, the one that was most tuned to corporate needs,” and eventually the partnership discussion became an acquisition conversation.
WatchKeeper’s entire team will move to Dataminr, and they will remain in the U.K. Dataminr opened its European headquarters in the U.K. a few years ago, and the company has ambitious plans to spend heavily from its last round of capital on international expansion in Europe and in APAC.
WatchKeeper will be integrated into Dataminr Pulse later this year, the company’s product focused on business risk clients. Bailey said that from a data perspective, the acquisition pushes Dataminr into a new direction. “We have never taken that step of using public data outside of just detecting events,” he said. “We have a bunch of ideas on how to go beyond detecting events early,” which has been Dataminr’s main objective, to “real-time contextual data.” In addition, WatchKeeper integrates corporate internal data in a way that Dataminr hasn’t previously explored.
This is Dataminr’s first M&A transaction, and while future transactions could be in the offing, there isn’t a specific strategy to hit a growth target through acquisitions in the future. The company continues to be headed toward an intended IPO, given that it dubbed its March round a “pre-IPO round.”
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