The rapidly growing Customer Data Platform (CDP) market is expected to grow 34.6% year-over-year, from $ 3.5 billion in 2021 to $ 15.3 billion by 2026, according to ReportLinker.

One of the pioneers of the category, Simon Data, was founded in 2013 by former Googler Jason Davis and his co-founders, Matt Walker, former University of Texas doctoral student, and Joshua Neckes. The company is positioned as a CDP that enables brands to deliver personalized, data-driven customer experiences. The platform leverages enterprise-wide big data and machine learning to power customer communications across any channel.

It took me about five years for my PhD, working on machine learning algorithms and all kinds of interesting math, to realize that the value of data isn’t in analytics and statistics, neural networks. and digital computing. This is actually the way data is used in applications. While preparing for my degree, I spent a year at Google. I would have stayed there if I hadn’t been lucky and won the best article award for some research I had done. But Google really opened up to me how data could be used in the real world, ”says Jason Davis, CEO of Simon Data.

Davis saw how Google solves problems surprisingly well, and how Amazon Web Services’ ability to run thousands of machines to provide computing power for machine learning and data processing previously only available to Google, prompted Davis trying his hand at starting a business while still in college. This company, Adtuitive, automated the online advertising process for small retailers and served as a prologue to its later founding of Simon Data.

Adtuitive was acquired by Etsy in 2009 and Davis remained with the business for the next three years. “We had a sales opportunity with Etsy. And as we got to know these guys, they really liked, not only the tech, they liked the vision, and they liked the team, they saw the potential. And eventually, they ended up acquiring the business, ”says Davis.

Davis and his team not only deployed the advertising technology they launched at Etsy, but also developed a data-driven business practice that helps the company better understand the customer journey, creating the opportunity to segment customers and implementing testing and learning strategies that resulted in increased sales. . So why leave Etsy?

“I couldn’t have had a better experience there. But for me, entrepreneurship and the creation of start-ups are part of our values. We are a values-based company and one of our values ​​is what I call “owning”. And for me, to the extent that we can control our own destiny, to the extent that when we do things really well, we can look at ourselves and say “we did it”. And on the same coin, as far as things go wrong, we can look at you ourselves and say, “What could we have done better? Davis said.

Davis left Etsy in 2012 and took the next year to travel with his wife and see the world before deciding on his next step. He started the first prototypes for Simon Data in 2014, then went to market in 2015. They chose the company name because they wanted something that sounded user-friendly and because data is difficult and they wanted humanize them.

Today, Simon’s data is growing rapidly and now has 130 employees. Notable customers include JetBlue, TripAdvisor, Equinox, and BarkBox. The company has attracted $ 61.8 million in venture capital funding to date. Polaris Partners conducted their B and C rounds for a total of $ 50 million. Other investors include .406 Ventures, Prime Capital, Commerce Ventures, SV Angel and BoxGroup.

With the trend of businesses deploying digital technology, data, and AI to deliver a unified revenue operation that breaks the silos between sales, marketing, and customer service (as reported here by the Revenue Enablement Institute), Simon Data has doubled its data ecosystem strategy. “We want to sit on the data you already have. So if you use Tealium to collect your data, you can distribute it on our platform, and it can be placed on top of Snowflake (for example). A big part of our strategy is to partner with these pure data platforms and build our product around it, build our partner strategy around it or launch a market strategy around it. -Here, ”Davis said.

Davis grew up in the DC area. His father was a researcher and professor of computer science. He went to Cornell for his undergraduate degree in computer science and went to the University of Texas to pursue his doctorate and perhaps follow in his father’s footsteps for a faculty position. Yet his experiences took him in another direction.

“I spent time at Google and upon my return I really developed a new passion for real world applications. When I left Google, I saw a big gap in the way Google conceived content on the web. They really looked at it around the web pages. And when I looked at the web I was in college, had motorcycles, and have always been passionate about hobbies, sports, and long-tail stuff, at least from a web perspective. Davis explains.

When he couldn’t find the specific parts to fix his motorcycle through Google, he created his own search engine designed to index questions and provide answers through forums on the web. “I had a really, really strong commitment, but I haven’t had a chance to monetize this at all, that’s kind of the origin of my last business,” says Davis.

As for the future? Davis says, “I’m thrilled to have started something in this space, to build a great team, great product platform and technology, and to have great customers. The opportunity before us is more than massive. What does success look like? It is ultimately a disturbance. Does it require an IPO? No, this is not the case. Is an IPO something we think about? Sure. But it’s really about thinking about these fundamental issues and making sure that we can stay true to the vision and build towards it and build amazing and disruptive stuff.