1.   Background

Aster Capital recently led the $5m Series A round of OpenDataSoft, alongside Salesforce Ventures and returning backers Aurinvest Capital. The additional capital inflow will allow the company to better structure their international expansion as well as reinforce their leadership position in the French market.

Founded in 2011 with the mission of becoming the global leader in data publishing and sharing solutions for governments and private companies, the company is already the market leader in Europe with close to 100 clients, growing triple digit year over year. They have developed a user-friendly solution to allow data to be easily visualized, shared and reused in real-time across multiple layers of data access permissions, cross functionally and in a ubiquitous way, as it is deployed fully on cloud. Legacy systems, frequently presented in large organizations, are not an obstacle as the solution is agnostic, developed partly using Open Source standards, and features a large number of API/connectors to allow easy and seamless integration with enterprise / governments infrastructures in practically no time.

2.   Headline of why we invested

At Aster we recognize that building a truly successful story is matter of a few elements: a great and passionate funding team, a solid technical foundation and differentiated business idea or product and a large and sustainable market trend opportunity.

We have been impressed by the founding team: Jean Marc Lazard, Franck Carassus and David Thoumas all worked together before, have had previous experience including at least one other venture backed success story, and feature strong complementarity. In addition, their drive made them standing above the crowd and made us feeling “we want to have them in the Aster family”.

Their product is highly rated by their customers, easy to use with impressive utilization rate among their users and is clearly the result of a top notch team led by one of the co-founders. We have been impressed by the meticulous approach in dealing with their development, the customer needs, the future product roadmap.

And then the drivers of change that we expect to reinforce in the near future: at Aster we have experienced a profound evolution of the dynamics of how large organizations and cities interact with their main stakeholders. In particular the way we plan, design and improve our cities as well as our daily life within cities will become increasingly a matter of good data management. By the same token, the need of transparency and real time communication between Corporates and current and perspective customers, is becoming an element of differentiation, especially in some sectors that are perceived “less friendly” for the health and wellbeing of the planet. In other words, we believe that the promises of the Open Data are finally materializing and in our view OpenDataSoft is positioned as an enabler of this global Data Revolution.

3.   Trend/reference market

A few years ago, the USA became the first country to make all data collected by its government and related bodies “open by default”, with exception of personal and sensitive information such as the one security related. Now there are more than 50 countries and counting that have adopted the same paradigm, and no month passes by without a new government announcing to implement the same strategy soon. Although some of this data was already published in some form even before, it was mostly featuring poor visualization and usability. Now this is changing also thanks to big data infrastructure becoming largely more affordable and as result of that also large corporate organization are slowly but surely adopting the same strategy. It is not without reasons that analysts talk about the impact of the Open Data in sectors such as Education, Transportation, Healthcare, Government, Construction and Utilities could surpass $1tn in both US and Europe in the foreseeable future.

4.   Why/how well the company fits in this trend

In such a sizeable shift, OpenDataSoft is particularly well positioned to take advantage of the willingness of a large variety of sectors to make their data available and usable in short time, without costly implementation and with a great flexibility in terms of both client infrastructure and data security. Furthermore, their solution will allow a more efficient use of data also internally and will give customers the opportunity to take advantage of the Big Data trend which promises to help organizations to improve their internal operations and their effectiveness to go to market.

5.   What we look for at Aster

At Aster, we dedicate a lot of effort and spend considerable time to sit down with ambitious and passionate founders and unfortunately we cannot partner with all. Therefore, we have to make choices and often we need to select also based on what the company has been able to achieve without funding and limited resources. OpenDataSoft is a particularly clear example of how to take advantage and to certain extent enable a profound transformation of a very large sector in a very efficient and targeted manner.

Now, as we recognize a strong opportunity to expand globally, which is in part already underway, we have been excited to the opportunity to back such an ambitious founding team and are thrilled to support their plan.

We absolutely see the company at the heart of the digital transformation and data management, addressing a variety of large sectors, led by a top notch founding team, that has proven excellent execution with a global mindset. These are elements that fit perfectly with Aster’s model: local support with global reach, equally well connected with traditional and Corporate VCs as well as a large ecosystem of industrial partners providing access to large markets. We will stand by OpenDataSoft expansion, supporting them in the four continents with our various branches around the world (San Francisco, Beijing, Tel Aviv, Nairobi and Paris).

Congrats to Jean-Marc, Franck and David for what you have been able to accomplish until now and we look forward to joining forces to make Opendatasoft an amazing success story.