Harbr Raises $38.5 Million for Big Data Sharing

The big data revolution has created a problem. Enterprises are drowning in vast volumes of data — both internal data and data from the outside. Sharing and managing this resource has become challenging. That’s why Harbr has been able to raise $38.5 million in a Series A round from investors. The London based startup creates technology for the enterprise to assist with big data management.

An unlikely source inspires Harbr’s name. It is named after the “safe harbor” regulations. These regulations have been critical in allowing modern Internet companies to process and handle data without incurring liability. However, this US regulation has recently been debated and may be changed.

What Harbr Does

Security and privacy concerns are making sharing large volumes of data more challenging. Harbr is solving that problem by acting as a trusted third party. Companies can use the product to create a virtual data room where multiple people can access data. Fundamentally, the idea is an evolution of established data practices like data warehouses and data lakes.

Harbr’s contribution to the Big Data problem rests on a few premises. First, the company makes it possible to create a data marketplace. That is a significant development because collecting and storing data is expensive. Yet, most companies do not have a way to earn revenue from these data. A few tech giants like Amazon, Facebook, and Google have built profitable businesses around user data. Other firms have not managed to do so. Harbr’s early adopters are mainly companies that already have a large stake in data like Moody’s Analytics. Moody’s provides economic forecasts and analysis to investors, bankers, and governments around the world.

Harbr also claims to put a priority on privacy protection and security. However, it is difficult to know how robust the company’s protections are until tested in a real cybersecurity crisis.

Harbr’s Co-Founders Have Deep Experience

As a new company, Harbr’s founding team will play a critical role in guiding product development and recruitment. Gary Butler, co-founder, and CEO, brings a strong background in data and enterprise computing. Butler has previously worked as a strategist at Hewlett-Packard and co-founder of E9Data.

Anthony Cosgrove, Harbr co-founder and chief strategy officer, brings a different background to bear on the company. Before Harbr, Cosgrove worked at HSBC, an international bank, for eight years. During his time there, he led the intelligence technology unit and worked on financial crime intelligence. Also, Cosgrove has worked as an intelligence analyst for the UK Ministry of Defence. His background in intelligence work in banking and government will help to boost Harbr’s credibility.

Who’s Investing in Harbr

Due to the long experience of its founding team, Harbr has attracted several prominent investors. In the Series A round announced this month, Dawn Capital and Tiger Global Management acted as the lead investors. In total, the company has attracted more than $50 million from investors.

Dawn Capital is a European investment fund that specializes in B2B software. With $1 billion in assets under management, the fund has previously invested in iZettle (sold to Payal), Mimecast (listed on the NASDAQ), and Showpad.

How the Company Will Use Its New Capital

Harbr initially operated in stealth mode — essentially avoiding publicity as much as possible. That is all going to change after the public announcement of its Series A funding round. The company will recruit and expand its workforce in both the United Kingdom and the United States. US-based staff will mainly focus on sales and customer service. Research and development activities will remain in the UK.

As of late November, the company has fifteen open job positions on its website. These include sales roles — account executives and sales development representatives. Besides, there are technical roles open such as solutions architect and product leader. The company’s job postings indicate recruiting flexibility — applicants from the US and UK are both welcome.

These Technologies Already Work With Harbr

Compatibility with existing databases and software will be a crucial question for potential customers. Fortunately, the company has already made excellent progress on this front. It is compatible with several leading data tools such as Hadoop, Hive, and R Studio. Moving data to and from the product is straightforward. Harbr works with Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Services. Also, customers can transfer data using secure file transfer (SFTP).

Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is an author and marketing consultant based in Canada. His first book “Project Managers At Work” shared real-world success lessons from NASA, Google, and other organizations. His articles have been published in CIO.com, InfoWorld, Canadian Business, and other organizations. Visit BruceHarpham.com for articles, interviews with tech leaders, and updates on future books.

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