DEPO Ventures invests in data automation. Swedish-Czech startup Forloop raised 875k euros.
No successful company today can do without rapid adaptation to the constantly changing market conditions. Finding out the behavior of the target group, new trends, and competitors, all of this can be crucial for the further development of a company. The problem with data is that its processing is often very slow, difficult, and most importantly manual. In addition, many companies do not use this additional data at all and rely only on their internal data. To handle this problem, the Czech-Swedish startup Forloop.ai has created a platform to automate work with external data, which has been proven to speed up the work of data analysts while generally saving time and resources. The startup has now raised around 875 thousand EUR from Czech and foreign investors, including the angel fund DEPO Ventures. The funding will be used to improve the product, grow the number of users and expand into the US.
Up to 80 percent of a data analyst's time is spent sorting data into a form that can be further manipulated. To utilize data on a day-to-day basis, it is often necessary to know how to program. Forloop.ai can eliminate a large part of this manual work thanks to algorithms that automatically check data quality. In addition, the platform gives users the choice of coding the processes themselves or creating them entirely without the need for coding skills.
"I've noticed that leveraging external data inside their product in real-time is an important goal for many companies. Unfortunately, what most of them have in common is that these projects often take months to complete, spanning from design all the way to the final application. I was convinced that there had to be a faster way. In addition, we learned from dozens of data analysts that during the Covid pandemic, companies typically made decisions based on models from previous periods, however, that ceased to be an effective method. So we started thinking about how to help them get around this limitation and react faster to market changes," Dominik Vach, CTO and co-founder of Forloop.ai, explainins the company's creation.
"We also see that startups often face the problem of the so-called 'cold start'. Founders want to put artificial intelligence or machine learning into their product, but don't have enough data to do so. Additionally, we are searching for solutions for them," adds co-founder Sebastian Berg.
Customers from real estate, logistics, and retail
Forloop's vision is to build a tool that makes data scientists and analysts more productive. It strives to make creating data processes with machine intelligence at least ten times easier and faster. Analysts will therefore be able to focus on solving the more complicated aspects of mathematical processes, rather than micromanaging data.
It already counts various companies among its customers, proving its applicability across multiple industries, while advancing unique goals. In the real estate market, for example, it is used by companies to automate the correct evaluation of properties. However, the platform comes in handy whenever the data in question is from hard-to-process sources (without APIs) or when there is the need for these sources to be updated frequently. For example, in logistics it is used to monitor costs and vehicle capacities, venture capital funds can use it to attract startups, or it can be utilized in e-commerce to dynamically optimize prices and match products.
"Making data-driven decisions is a prerequisite for success in today's world. It is a necessary exaggeration to say that for most professionals, working with data - from collection to analysis to interpretation - will be a core competency in the years to come. Nothing new. Identifying buying trends, setting pricing models, analyzing competitors, and many other tasks rely on processing external data that is unstructured, copious, and above all dynamic. Anyone who has ever tried to do a bit more complex external data analysis knows that with current tools you either can't get by without a solid foundation in data analytics and programming or, on the contrary, you will have to make compromises because the current "no-code" solutions are simply not flexible enough. Forloop is on a mission to make the power of data accessible to everyone, which fulfills our thesis about the future of work. Add to that the competence, hunger, and ambition of founders Sebastian and Dominik, and this results in us being very excited to support their mission." says Michal Ciffra, Partner at DEPO Ventures. It is from DEPO, that the founders hope to help expand their user base and connect them to experts in the data and investor ecosystem.
Throughout the next year, Forloop plans to increase revenues, quintuple the number of users, and enter the US market. The founders also want to focus on making it natively run in the cloud and handle more complex data processes in higher volumes.
"Most of the AI teams I've worked with only use internal data for analysis, not external data, which means they miss out on a lot of opportunities. I think using external data will be the new standard and I decided to invest because I see two founders who have the potential to change that," argues one of the angel investors, Jan Bosch, professor of artificial intelligence at Chalmers University of Technology.
The investment round of 875k euros, involved funds that focus on early-stage startups. In addition to DEPO Ventures, the investment round was also accompanied by Berlin-based APX (Axel-Springer & Porsche Ventures), Amsterdam-based Rockstart Ventures, and Prague-based funds Fazole Ventures and Startguide. Forloop is also backed by several angel investors across the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark, who bring strategic experience both technologically and from leading data-driven companies such as Microsoft, eBay, Peltarion, Capdesk, Omio, and Trade Republic.