Data Infrastructure for AI: A Crucial Component in the Modern Technological Landscape



In the realm of artificial intelligence (AI), data infrastructure plays a pivotal role in enabling the development and deployment of advanced AI applications. We at Big Sky Capital recognize the importance of this trend and actively seek out promising founders and innovative startups in the data infrastructure for the AI space. With a deep understanding of the technology and its potential to transform industries, Big Sky Capital is committed to providing the necessary resources, expertise, and connections to help its portfolio companies thrive and achieve long-term success. This article delves into the significance of data infrastructure in the modern world, its technological underpinnings, and the growing interest of venture capital firms in investing in this critical space.

Overcoming the challenges of Digital Transformation with AI

The Technology Behind Data Infrastructure


Data infrastructure for AI encompasses the systems, tools, and processes that facilitate the collection, storage, processing, and analysis of vast amounts of data to fuel AI algorithms and models. This infrastructure typically includes data warehouses, data lakes, data pipelines, and specialized AI hardware accelerators. These components work in tandem to ensure that AI systems have access to high-quality, diverse datasets that are essential for training and refining AI models.


Data Warehouses and Data Lakes


Data warehouses and data lakes are two primary components of data infrastructure for AI. A data warehouse is a centralized repository that stores structured and semi-structured data, optimized for querying and analysis. Data warehouses are designed to handle large volumes of data and enable fast data retrieval, making them ideal for AI applications that require historical data for training and analysis. On the other hand, data lakes are more flexible and can store raw, unstructured data from various sources. Data lakes are designed to accommodate the increasing diversity of data types and sources, including text, images, audio, and video. By storing raw data in its native format, data lakes enable AI applications to extract insights and patterns from unstructured data, which often contains valuable information that is not easily captured in traditional structured databases.

Data Pipelines and AI Hardware Accelerators


Data pipelines are the backbone of data infrastructure for AI, connecting various data sources, processing tools, and storage systems to ensure seamless data flow. Data pipelines enable the integration of diverse data sources, the transformation of data into usable formats, and the distribution of data to AI models for training and inference hardware accelerators are specialized chips designed to optimize the performance of AI algorithms and models. These chips, such as graphics processing units (GPUs) and tensor processing units (TPUs), are designed to handle the complex mathematical operations required for AI computations more efficiently than traditional CPUs. By offloading AI computations to dedicated hardware, AI applications can achieve higher performance, lower latency, and lower power consumption, which are critical factors for large-scale AI deployments.


Importance of Data Infrastructure in the Modern World


In today’s data-driven economy, the importance of robust data infrastructure for AI cannot be overstated. Organizations across industries rely on AI to gain insights, automate processes, enhance decision-making, and drive innovation. Effective data infrastructure is the foundation upon which these AI capabilities are built, enabling businesses to harness the power of data to stay competitive and relevant in a rapidly evolving landscape. Companies will always need data and consumers and businesses will only generate more of it. The amount of data created and consumed worldwide in 2022 will be in the range of 97 zettabytes, or 97 billion terabytes, and it is growing more than 19% year over year. In addition, the power of data in determining a company’s success will only increase moving forward — as will the number of tools for aggregating, connecting, storing, transforming, querying, analyzing and visualizing that data.


“There were 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003, but that much information is now created every two days.”


~ Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman at Google


Data infrastructure plays a crucial role in ensuring data security, privacy, and compliance with regulatory requirements. With the increasing focus on data governance and ethical AI practices, organizations must invest in secure and reliable data infrastructure to safeguard sensitive information and maintain trust with customers and stakeholders. Data infrastructure solutions that incorporate advanced encryption, access controls, and data lineage capabilities can help organizations meet stringent data security and privacy standards, such as GDPR and HIPAA.


Venture Capital Investments in Data Infrastructure for AI


The data vertical has reliably produced some of the largest, highest-growth new companies of recent decades, from Snowflake to Palantir. Data analytics and infrastructure startups have consistently secured a significant portion of venture capital funding, although their share has slightly decreased in recent years, with a drop from 20% to 22% of global software funding each year between 2020 and 2022 to 19.1% in 2023. This decline is due to a shift in focus towards pure-play AI companies. The mix of investments has shifted towards vertical applications companies, with pure-play data infrastructure and analytics platforms witnessing a decline. 


In the data infrastructure industry, Pinecone recently raised a $100.0 million Series B with a 3.9x valuation step-up, bringing the leading vector database to generative AI applications, according to lead investor Andreessen Horowitz. Databricks acquired Arcion for $100.0 million, adding data integration capabilities to its data lake, and raised a $684.6 million Series I led by Nvidia and T. Rowe Price, reaching a $43.2 billion post-money valuation. Chronosphere raised $115M in Additional Series C Funding at a $1.6 Billion Valuation from GV, Geodesic Capital, Founders Fund, General Atlantic, and Greylock. OneTrust, a market leader in trust intelligence, recently secured a $150 million funding round led by Generation Investment Management, bringing its total funds raised to over $1 billion with a current $4.5 billion valuation. These are the major recent funding rounds in the industry, not mentioned dozens of smaller deals at the seed stages across every data elements. 




Data infrastructure for AI is a critical enabler of AI innovation and adoption in the modern world. As organizations continue to harness the power of AI to drive growth and transformation, investing in robust data infrastructure will be key to unlocking the full potential of AI technologies. With venture capital firms actively supporting the growth of this space, we can expect to see continued advancements and breakthroughs in data infrastructure for AI that will shape the future of technology and business. Big Sky Capital is open to meeting great founders tinkering with solutions in the data infrastructure space, ready to provide support and resources to drive innovation in this critical sector.


At Big Sky Capital, we invest in exceptional founders in emerging markets building disruptive SaaS solutions for enterprises. Our firm is based on a core set of principles with a Founder First mentality. As serial entrepreneurs ourselves, we understand the intricacies of early-stage company growth and our goal is to build a VC firm that supports the founders with action.







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