Let's take a look inside the world's number one web data collection platform...
Data is more than just everywhere. It's the oxygen that gives life to present and future business decisions, powering companies to innovate and remain competitive in a real-time world. For many, accessing web data at a massive scale has become an ever-growing part of their strategy. This data can be used for many critical purposes, including to support major investment moves, product development, innovation and launches, strategies for pricing and new offers, brand reputation protection, entering new markets, strategic business decision-making, and more.
Given the growing importance of web-based data as an up-to-the-minute channel through which to accurately view market reality, it's no surprise that the industry's leading web data collection platform, Bright Data, is experiencing a meteoric rise. This year marked several significant milestones for the company – a rebrand, opening a second major office in NYC, launching The Bright Initiative, an organization that uses data to drive positive changes, hiring its 300th employee, acquiring three companies, and reaching over US$100 million in annual revenues.
CEO Or Lenchner, who's been at the helm since 2018, says: "The demand for web data has grown and now addresses more than just traditional needs. More and more industries are now turning to public web data as a reliable source of information for up-to-the-minute insights. Even once-reluctant industries such as financial services companies are now adding web data to their ongoing data sources. As the leading web data collection platform, we addressed and continue to address versatile, and I would go as far as saying creative, data needs to serve major players in the e-commerce, finance, and security sectors as well as academic institutions, and more. Bright Data's mission remains the same: to provide transparent access to the world's largest database – and that is the internet. With that data, companies and organizations can openly compete, research, and offer innovative products and services and even save lives."
Who are Bright Data's customers?
Web data collection addresses e-commerce needs, from pricing strategy to ongoing offerings and product innovation. So, it's no surprise that customers from these sectors make up a significant proportion of Bright Data's client base. However, many more businesses are now engaging in web data collection – with new use cases emerging daily. To date, the company practices over 35 use cases to serve its growing customer base.
Many of these are in the financial services sector. For instance, investors are increasingly utilizing publicly available web data (e.g., social media posts, company reports, job listings, and more) to spot trends and inform their investment strategies. The use of external data or "alternative data" is particularly common in ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) investing, and to inform investment strategies around major global phenomena like the supply chain crisis.
Another major reason companies turn to Bright Data's web data collection technology is to identify and prevent fraud or damage to a brand's reputation. For example, ad fraud – the generation of revenue through fraudulently represented digital ad impressions, clicks, conversions, and data – is a growing problem. Recent studies indicate that in 2021, ad fraud will have reached unprecedented numbers costing our market over US$65 billion. By using web data collection products, marketers can combat this by verifying the accuracy of the campaign data they receive. At the same time, many brands are using Bright Data's platform to protect their intellectual property. By using the company's infrastructure, brands can catch those who damage or wish to damage their reputation and act against them.
According to Lenchner, "With so many potential uses of web data gathering, the task is on us – as a data technology provider – to ensure our products are used responsibly. We take this extremely seriously." Therefore, setting, meeting, and openly reporting on its compliance targets sit at the heart of Bright Data's commitment to total transparency around its compliance processes.
"Throughout 2021, we turned down opportunities to work closely with 800 potential customers, as they didn't meet our strict compliance criteria. It might seem counterintuitive for a company to pride itself on rejecting customers but trusting the data you receive starts with trusting your provider" says Lenchner.
"Running a state-of-the-art trustworthy web data platform greatly relies on keeping it compliant and secure," adds Ron Kol, Bright Data's CTO and Chief Information Security Officer. "As our thousands of customers' demands grow, our technological innovation will also continue to increase its compliance edge so our customers can continue relying on Bright Data' with absolute trust. Dedicating our hard-earned expertise to these regulatory steps is one of our company's primary goals and will continue to be through 2022," Kol concludes.
The company also recently announced the appointment of a new vice president of Compliance & Ethics to further advance the company's long-standing mission and impact on the entire data industry.
"Every company or organization turning to data first needs to trust the data they receive. We, as a company, want to make sure that we are always worthy of our customers' trust – this has always been our first and foremost mission" says Lenchner.
How it all started
Bright Data (formerly Luminati Networks) was founded in 2014. The company's initial product was a proxy infrastructure platform for businesses. In 2017, the company was acquired by a UK-based private equity firm, EMK Capital.
In early 2020, the company revolutionized its product offering by adding complete web data collection platform services. As such, Lenchner and his team decided that a rebrand would better reflect the company's new scope. So, in 2021, the company rebranded to Bright Data. Lenchner explains, "Our old name, Luminati, reflected our mission to provide every organization transparent access to the internet. We've since expanded to become the world's leading web data platform, with clients spanning almost every sector. Our new name, Bright Data, better conveys this expanded mission: to power innovation in every possible space through advanced public web data platforms and the delivery of high-quality reliable web data."
Bright Data is powered by its global experts
Though Bright Data has no doubt evolved rapidly since its founding, one characteristic that has remained consistent throughout the past seven years is the company's commitment to creating an advanced customer-focused culture of "getting things done."
"At Bright Data, we've never played by the traditional business rule book. While others may talk the talk about transparency and a customer-first culture, we walk the walk; each and every employee in the company is focused on getting things done, fast and successfully for the customers," says Lenchner.
During 2021, Bright Data announced its continued growth in the United States with the establishment of a New York office, its second main office globally. The new office launch began at the height of the pandemic in early 2020, reflecting the growth in its business activity and customer base, including its expanded services towards mid-market and enterprise-focused activities. Its presence in the U.S. will accelerate and drive this direction.
"Whether web data is used for responding to crises in real time, maintaining a competitive edge, or reflecting consumer sentiments, public web data is flexible, sharp, and reliable. We are empowering businesses to make vital strategic decisions so they can win more and lose less," said Lenchner at the time of the New York office launch.
The company has since been focusing on expanding its focus and reach in a variety of other areas. Watch this space – new announcements are coming.
Data4Good – driving forward global positive changes with data
In addition to helping many of the world's largest enterprises, including Fortune 500 firms, to access web data, Bright Data believes that data is at the core of multiple important mission-critical projects as well as at the core of some life-saving missions.
The company provides assistance through The Bright Initiative – a global organization it set up to provide academic institutions and researchers, NGOs, nonprofits, and public bodies with pro-bono access to Bright Data's cutting-edge technology and extensive expertise. For example, the Initiative runs over seven learning academic sessions a month involving some of the world's leading academic institutions.
"As innovators and industry leaders in the field of web data, we have a duty to ensure our technology doesn't just drive business profits but also brings about positive social and environmental change," says Lenchner. "Through The Bright Initiative, we're helping organizations to harness the power of public web data to fight social injustice, stop fraud, combat climate change, impact public nationwide policies, educate others about responsible data gathering processes, inform other valuable academic research, and much more."
Over 300 global organizations are members of the Initiative. Besides various charities that are at the forefront of the fight against human trafficking and the exploitation of minors, members of the Initiative include top universities, such as Princeton and Oxford.
In addition to providing Bright Data's technology free of charge to members, a key goal of the Initiative is to build data skills and drive forward responsible data usage worldwide. One way the Initiative is furthering this goal is by supporting the implementation of the UK's National Data Strategy (NDS) and working with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
"In our view, the NDS creates an opportunity for enhanced transparency across Britain," says Lenchner.
"This requires close collaboration between the public, private, and third sectors. Recently, The Bright Initiative facilitated discussions between business leaders and the UK's Minister of State for Media and Data at the time as well as among senior government data professionals," says Lenchner. "We are also working directly with the DCMS. I'm delighted to be part of the Department's NDS Forum, where I can share insights on data markets and skills needs – a subject I'm passionate about!"
After a record-breaking 2021, the future certainly looks brighter than ever. "2022 will be the year that web data makes a greater impact and is used by plenty more organizations," concludes Lenchner. "All I can say is the internet is the place where reality happens by the second... so watch this space!"