New Zealand software venture Segna, a self-described “data wrangler”, has landed a US$125,000 seed investment from Y Combinator ahead of the startup taking part in the legendary US accelerator program.
Segna will be just the fourth New Zealand startups to be part of Y Combinator, which counts Airbnb, Dropbox, Twitch, Stripe, Reddit, and CoinBase among its alumni. in YC’s 16-year history. More than 30,000 startups apply to Y Combinator annually. The three-month program climaxes with a demo day seeking funding rounds of US$1-5 million.
This is the second startup for Segna
Auckland-based co-founders Will Haringa and Aryan Lobie launched the platform 16 months ago. It’s their second startup adventure for the duo, who have aerospace backgrounds. Haringa also co-founded Zenno Astronautics, while Aryan developed the first scientific satellite, which launched via RocketLab last November before working as a data scientist at smart cow collar company Halter.
They’ve now raised NZ$880,000 for Segna, with backing from Hillfarrance VC, Icehouse Ventures and Australian-based fund, CP Ventures.
Haringa said the new funds are being used to expand the team and further develop the Segna platform, which can unify and restructure data streams hundreds of times faster than legacy methods.
“We are on a mission to democratise access to data, to break it away from being an arcane art for experts housed within large enterprise, to a being simple, intuitive and affordable for smaller businesses. And we can do this for businesses at warp speed,” he said.
A beta version of Segna is being used by a wide range of small and medium-sized businesses, which include accounting and financial firms, an online retailer, and a number of local startups. Businesses will pay a monthly subscription fee when the product is officially launched next year.
With an estimated 80% of a data analyst’s time is spent as a ‘data caretaker’ – cleaning it up and getting it into the right shape – that leaves just 20% of their day remaining derive value through analysis. Haringa has his eye on Segna assisting smaller businesses, where the cost of data analytics is keenly felt
“The use of machine learning not only expedites Segna’s data wrangling, but also continuously improves the way data is presented based on the users’ previous actions, helping them uncover new insights with unprecedented accuracy,” he said.
Rob Vickery, managing partner of the AI-focused early-stage venture capital fund Hillfarrance, said Segna is one of the leaders of a New Zealand charge to create the next wave of AI innovation.
“More businesses – big and small – are realising that the true value of their enterprise is in the data they collect, not just the sales they generate,” he said.;
“At Hillfarrance, an we believe that Aotearoa New Zealand entrepreneurs are creating the next wave of, and
Icehouse Ventures CEO Robbie Paul praised the duo and their ambition.
“Many of the startups we back have been led by young founders with extraordinary ambition and intellectual firepower, such as Halter, Sharesies, Dawn Aerospace, Partly, and Astrix,” he said.
“Will and Aryan are equally exceptional and we are excited to back them alongside Y Combinator.”