Accenture Ventures, the investing arm of consulting giant Accenture (NYSE: ACN), has made an undisclosed, strategic investment in Arlington, Va.-based Stardog, a data startup that emerged at the University of Maryland’s AI Lab.
Stardog, which uses generative AI to build knowledge graphs, has previously raised $23.3 million. Its backers include: Washington, D.C.-based Core Capital Partners; Baltimore-based Grotech Ventures; New York’s Tenfore Holdings and Contour Venture Partners; Santa Clara, Calif.-based Presidio, a unit of Sumitomo Corp.; and Boulder, Colo.-based Boulder Ventures.
“Organizations today need to adopt a semantic approach to their enterprise data; otherwise, they will face an endless battle with data silos and data sprawl,” said Stardog co-founder and CEO Kendall Clark, who was previously the managing editor of O’Reilly & Associates publication XML.com.
Clark first met his co-founders — Mike Grove and Evren Sirin — at the University of Maryland’s AI Lab, setting them off on this data-driven mission. Grove, who serves as Stardog’s senior vice president of technology, is a computer engineer who has previously worked at Fujitsu Labs. Sirin, who holds a doctorate degree in computer science, serves as Stardog’s chief technology officer.
“Our technology makes it easier for organizations to create and use a semantic layer for enterprise data analytics, which in turn can accelerate their strategic data integration efforts and enhance the productivity of their data engineers and data scientists,” added Clark.
Stardog’s enterprise knowledge graphs connect data in profound ways to bring better insights and help decision-making. Its customers include NASA, Boehringer Ingelheim and Schneider Electric.
“For most large enterprises, the real value of generative AI will come from customizing and fine-tuning large language models and using their own collected data to address their unique business needs,” said Accenture Ventures’ managing director Tom Lounibos, previously the founder of Akamai-acquired startup Soasta.
Nearly all (98%) business leaders agree that AI foundation models will play an important role in their organization’s strategies over the next three to five years, according to Accenture’s research.
“Foundation models need vast amounts of curated data to learn and that makes solving the data challenge an urgent priority for every business,” said Lounibos. “This is precisely where Stardog’s enterprise knowledge graphs can make a difference by helping organizations unify and optimize their data for this new era of generative AI.”
Accenture Ventures, headquartered in San Francisco, has made 38 portfolio investments since its inception in 2015. Its recent investments include Virtonomy, Ocean Genomics, Looking Glass Factory, Forma Vision, Cosmo, BehaVR and Ketos.
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Founded in 1999, Washington, D.C.-based has over $600 million under management across three funds. It was founded by managing director Will Dunbar, previously the founder and CEO of Pebble Hill Capital, an early-stage, technology-focused investment firm. Its portfolio firms include Trinity Convergence, sentito Networks and PivoTech.
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Founded in 1984, Grotech Ventures has raised over $1.4 billion, and made over 150 portfolio investments and 40-plus exits. Industry veteran Lawson DeVries has served as Grotech’s managing general partner since 2020. Its recent portfolio investments include Fount Global, pgEdge, Speedscale, Apkudo, Sunstone Credit and Tellius. Grotech’s recent exits include Perishable Shipping Solutions, of Youngstown, Ohio; Urjanet, of Atlanta, Ga.; and Youreka, of Baltimore.
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New York-based Tenfore Holdings’ recent portfolio investments include Floreo, ThreatBlockr, Rhumbix and Humatics. New York-based Contour Venture Partners was co-founded in 2005 by Matt Gorin and Bob Greene. Its recent portfolio investments include Komi, Lesson Squad, Sigma Ratings and ShareBite.