CRN Exclusive: Machine-Learning Startup DataRobot Hires Alteryx Vet To Expand Channel Efforts

As more enterprises look to deploy machine-learning technologies, a growing startup in the space, DataRobot, has made a key hire to boost its work with channel partners.

The Boston-based company this month appointed Seann Gardiner, who previously held channel roles at Alteryx and Dell Software, to oversee and expand the startup's partner program.

DataRobot focuses on bringing machine learning into the enterprise to make it far easier for companies to perform predictive analytics — such as predicting customer churn or how a product change will affect sales. The company aims to offer predictive analytics for a fraction of the cost and time of other methods, and without the need for data scientists.

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Gardiner serves as executive vice president of business development at DataRobot, and told CRN that the company "really stood out to me" while he was at Alteryx, a data analytics firm that completed its initial public offering in March and partners with DataRobot.

"I felt they really had a bright future. I talked to our joint customers, and I saw the sort of reaction they had — the love they had for the [DataRobot] platform and what it was doing for their business and careers. That was pretty impressive," Gardiner said. "I've only seen a few other companies like that. Tableau was one. Alteryx was another."

Key verticals for DataRobot's technology include banking, insurance and telecommunications. The company specializes in bringing together data from disparate locations for analysis, a process that previously would have required manual effort. DataRobot also leverages a library of machine-learning algorithms to help with the creation of predictive models.

Founded in 2012, DataRobot has been working with channel partners for about two years and has roughly a dozen partners in North America, Gardiner said. The company is looking to selectively add partners that have a strong understanding of data analytics and data science, he said.

One of DataRobot's current partners is Slalom, a Seattle-based company that is No. 41 on CRN's 2017 Solution Provider 500. Marc Imberman, practice area director for information management and analytics at Slalom, said DataRobot's capabilities enable customers to go to market faster with solutions powered by machine learning.

"You don't have to have a Ph.D. in statistics to start using DataRobot tomorrow," he said. "You just have to have a good hypothesis in mind."

"A lot of our clients are just now getting their arms around advanced analytics,"said Slalom's Imberman, adding he is "extremely optimistic" that DataRobot will help to grow the solution provider's business.

DataRobot's partner program has two tiers, Standard and Premium, and offers "compelling margins" to partners thanks in part to the company's strong differentiation in the market, Gardiner said.

DataRobot offers its software via a subscription, meaning that partners can benefit from a recurring revenue stream, he said. Consulting partners, meanwhile, can earn a referral fee by selling the DataRobot platform, Gardiner said.

Gardiner comes to DataRobot with a background of working on channel initiatives with a number of up-and-coming companies. He most recently served as senior vice president for business development at Alteryx, overseeing channel partnerships for the company, which he had joined in 2013.

Before that, Gardiner worked as senior director of business development at systems management appliances firm KACE starting in 2007, and then stayed on with Dell Software for three years after the company's acquisition of KACE in 2010. At Dell Software, he focused on the channel in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. Earlier, Gardiner served as director for business development and alliances at cybersecurity firm Sophos.

DataRobot has raised $111 million funding to date, most recently closing a $54 million Series C round in March that was led by New Enterprise Associates.