Machine learning data management startup SafeGraph raises $16M

San Francisco-based machine learning data management startup SafeGraph Inc. has raised $16 million Series A in a round led by IDG Ventures USA that included over 100 individual investors including Peter Thiel, Adam D’Angelo, Romesh Wadhwani, Eric Cantor, KT zu Guttenberg, Prince Turki Al Saud, Jack Dangermond, Barry Sternlicht, Pete Briger, Naval Ravikant, and Nicolas Berggruen.

Founded in 2016, SafeGraph builds and maintain data sets that can be used to accelerate machine learning and artificial intelligence. The company aims to help answer questions by providing access to a large dataset that predicts the past to figure out what to do in future, with its first product, a geospatial data platform, empowering urban planners, retailers, academic researchers, marketers and investors with access to an accurate record for understanding human movement.

SafeGraph has yet to disclose who their initial partners or clients are, but Chief Executive Officer Auren Hoffman told AdExchanger that the company’s business development plans include advertising and marketing use cases.

In a post on Medium, Hoffman went further, describing the Series A round as “an unconventional fundraising for an unconventional company,” and that “most companies don’t raise $16 million for the first round of financing. And pretty much no company does it by bringing on over 100 individual investors in addition to a top tier VC. But we’re not a conventional company.”

Having over 100 individual investors in an opening round for a company does make it unique, let alone a nightmare from a management perspective, but Hoffman justifies bringing on board the investors, many of who come from the advertising industry or worked at his last company LiveRamp Inc. as giving the company a pool of knowledgeable investors it can call upon for advice as it moves forward.

Photo: SafeGraph

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