Premise Data, a San Francisco-based software firm that collects and tracks real-time macroeconomic and human development trends in over 30 countries around the world, announced a $50 million funding round led by Social + Capital and Valor Equity Partners.
About Premise Data
Founded in 2012, Premise Data web scrapes e-commerce sites and collects data using individual contributors in 32 countries who photograph items with smart phones to track real-time macroeconomic activity in Asia, Latin America, the U.S. and Europe.
From more than 20,000 e-commerce sites, Premise collects data including the sale price, MSRP/list price, discount, product availability, and consumer ratings information for food, grocery items, clothing and other products.
In addition, Premise pays over 25,000 regular people to take pictures of items at grocery stores, food markets, and other venues via a proprietary mobile app for both Android and iOS, collecting data such as price, location, the exact grocery store/market in which the food was pictured in, date, time, etc. These contributors are paid for each data item collected. The average contributor is paid between $80 to $120 per month.
The photographs taken by Premise’s contributors, along with data collected from e-commerce sites are uploaded and processed in Premise’s database. Premise uses this data to produce real-time indices to enable clients to monitor the supply, demand and price trends of various products in emerging markets.
Series C Capital Raise
Premise’s unique business model has attracted a great deal of interest in the venture community, culminating in last week’s Series C capital raise of $50 mln led by current investor Social + Capital Partnership and new investor Valor Equity Partners (who also invested in SpaceX and Tesla).
Thus far, Premise has raised close to $67 mln in capital in 4 investment rounds from investors like Social + Capital Partnership, Valor Equity Partners, Bowery Capital, Google Ventures, Anthemis Group, and SK Ventures.
In addition, Antonio Gracias, founder of Valor Equity Partners and Larry Summers, former Treasury Secretary are being added to Premise’s board. They are joining Chamath Palihapitiya, who founded Social + Capital; investor Karim Farris of Google Ventures; Matthew Granade, co-head of research at Bridgewater Associates; and Molly Graham, COO at Quip.
Premise is planning to use some of its new capital to hire more engineering staff to build up its historical database. The firm is expecting to expand staff from its current level of 40 employees to the low 60s by year end and the low triple digits by the end of 2016.
One part of the Premise business model – web scraping data from online e-commerce sites is not particularly unique as dozens of firms engage in this type of activity today. However, the second part of the Premise operation could be groundbreaking.
Leveraging the Uber model to crowd source the collection of data from opaque emerging markets, Premise could transform the extremely inefficient and delayed process of collecting and releasing government inflation and other macroeconomic data.
In addition, once the firm truly scales its network of contributors, Premise could also leverage this resource to collect competitive intelligence and other primary market data on individual companies, development projects, or other investment opportunities.
While we think Premise could have an extremely broad customer base (including corporations, NGOs, and government clients), we certainly expect that investment banks, mutual funds, and hedge funds will be very interested in purchasing data and related insight from the firm.