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Snowflake to acquire LeapYear to boost data clean room abilities

Snowflake to acquire LeapYear to boost data clean room abilities

San Francisco-based start-up will boost Snowflake's ability to offer secure data collaboration among customer enterprises.

Credit: Dreamstime

Cloud-based data warehouse company Snowflake has announced its intent to acquire secure data-sharing software provider LeapYear Technologies in an effort to boost its data clean room capabilities.

Data clean rooms are software frameworks that allow different organisations to collaborate on data analysis by allowing multiple parties to analyse data sets without disclosing the raw data to one another.

“To further our mission of mobilising the world’s data — including some of the most sensitive data — Snowflake is announcing its intent to acquire LeapYear, a differential privacy platform, and bring the LeapYear team and technology into Snowflake to help our customers leverage previously off-limits data,” Carl Perry, director of product management at Snowflake, wrote in a blog post.

Differential privacy allows for secure data sharing

Differential privacy is essentially a term used to describe systems that allow users to share information about a data set by describing patterns within the data set, without sharing any individual or personally identifiable information from the data set.

The addition of LeapYear’s differential privacy platform to Snowflake will augment its Global Clean Room offerings, Perry wrote.

Data clean rooms have been in demand due to data privacy regulations such as the European Union’s GDPR, as these software frameworks allow enterprises to collaborate and understand consumer data while still being compliant with regulations.

Another reason for the growing popularity of data clean rooms is that they give enterprises the ability to analyse large volumes of aggregated data.

"Leaders in the media and advertising industries, such as Disney, NBCUniversal, Acxiom, OpenAP, and Roku use Snowflake Global Data Clean Rooms to open up safe, auditable collaboration opportunities across organisations," Perry wrote. "This has also opened up new collaboration opportunities for organisations across other industries, like retail and CPG [consumer packaged goods]."

The market size for data clean rooms stood at US$4.4 billion at the end of 2021, data from Transparency Market Research shows. Several other companies, including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Google and Databricks, also offer clean room capabilities.

The intent to acquire LeapYear comes just a month after Snowflake agreed to acquire artificial intelligence (AI)-based time series forecasting platform provider Myst AI, taking the company’s acquisition count to seven companies in three years.

In August 2022 it bought AI-based document understanding platform Applica, based inPoland, to help enterprises handle unstructured data.

Other acquisitions included Streamlit (March 2022), Polish custom software company Pragmatists (January 2022), Polish digital products development studio Polidea (February 2021) and Canadian data anonymisation company CryptoNumerics (July 2020).

San Francisco-based LeapYear Technologies, which was founded in 2014 by Christopher Hockenbrocht, Colton Jang, Ishaan Nerurkar, has raised US$53.2 million in funding to date. Investors in the company include venture capital firms such as Bain Capital and Lightspeed.

As part of the acquisition, LeapYear’s team is expected to join Snowflake, Perry wrote.

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