Outlier raises $22.1 million to spot anomalies in business data with AI

Machine learning algorithms aren’t just technological novelties relegated to tasks like picking out faces in crowded places. In the enterprise, they can surface patterns and relationships that would otherwise have been missed. To do just that, Outlier.ai’s business analysis platform extracts data from internal and external sources and analyzes it to spot critical changes in behavior.

Investors see potential — a year after experiencing 400% growth, Oakland, California-based Outlier today announced that it has raised $22.1 million in a series B funding round led by Emergence, with participation from existing investors Ridge Ventures, 11.2 Capital, First Round Capital, Homebrew, Susa Ventures, and SV Angel, bringing its total raised to over $30 million.

Cofounder and CEO Sean Byrnes says the funding will be used to accelerate growth and make strategic hires across Outlier’s Oakland headquarters, as well as offices in Virginia Beach, Virginia and Europe. “Today’s businesses are wrestling with increasing volumes of data and an inability to analyze all of it to glean powerful insights. Outlier enables business leaders across various functions to make smart decisions quickly by providing … insights daily,” he said. “We appreciate the support of our investors, who understand the importance and value of automated business analysis.”

Outlier was founded in 2017 by Byrnes, who sold analytics startup Flurry to Yahoo six years ago for north of $200 million, and former Googler Michael Kim. The company develops and maintains an eponymous service that watches over business data in real time and lets managers, executives, and team members know when anything unexpected has occurred. It plugs into platforms like Google Analytics, SendGrid, Mandrill, Snowflake, Mixpanel, Adobe Cloud, Salesforce, Stripe, and Zendesk to extract key dimensions and make sense of trends involving various customer segments and then uses this information to highlight only the four to five most important changes happening daily.

Outlier

Outlier

Among other use cases, Outlier can optimize marketing programs, track changes in buyer segments, find product development issues, and identify large patterns of fraud. Byrnes says that the platform has already analyzed over 4 billion metrics from customers like Jack Rogers and Swarovski in segments from consumer packaged goods to ecommerce, retail, hospitality, life sciences, and financial services. He noted that Outlier this year partnered with nonprofit In-Q-Tel to identify unexpected patterns in government agency data sets.

“Outlier has improved the way we use our data. Celebrity Cruises has more than 30,000 partners, 30 cabin types, and over 1,000 cruises on sale at any given time,” said Matt Maule, who is vice president of business intelligence at Celebrity Cruises. “Quickly analyzing all that data and the various combinations of data would be impossible without Outlier. It helps us understand without bias or a hypothesis what we should focus on and what we shouldn’t be concerned over.”

In its recent Augmented Analytics Is the Future of Analytics report, Gartner predicts that by 2021, “augmented analytics” like Outlier’s will drive new purchases of analytics and business intelligence, as well as data science and machine learning platforms. Assuming this comes to pass, Outlier’s prospects in the $168.8 billion business analytics market look bright.

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