Origin Story


Why We Created Habu

The beginning

For the last 20 years, Habu’s founding team has been delivering innovative technology to leading brands, like L’Oreal, JetBlue, Kellogg, NBC, and The New York Times.

Habu’s founders first came together at Krux and continued their work together after Salesforce acquired Krux, the leading Data Management Platform (DMP), in 2016. At that time, publishers and marketers were harnessing DMP to manage data to deliver more personalized advertising and commerce experiences and to increase the effectiveness of their billions of dollars of advertising spend.

The walled gardens – Facebook, Google, and Amazon – had thorny but navigable hedges around them. Marketers and media companies enjoyed the ability to create all-in-one Systems of Intelligence that captured every scrap of data reflecting the actions, behaviors, affinities, likes, and dislikes of all of their customers.

As leading infrastructure for this era of digital marketing, Krux became the fastest growing product at Salesforce in 2017.

New obstacles emerge

In 2018, under the banner of privacy, the walled gardens began to replace their thorny hedges with seven foot-tall, impenetrable steel fences, and the game was forever changed.

Marketing data became scarce. Privacy moved from self-regulation to laws like GDPR and CCPA, which carried extreme technical difficulties and steep financial penalties for non-compliance. Google’s decision in 2020 to deprecate the third-party cookie -- the central workhorse of data exchange for publishers and marketers alike -- brought the first epoch of data-driven marketing to a decisive end.

Pho gardenmaze

The Habu team had a front row seat as all of these tectonic shifts unfolded. We were there on Day 1 with Google in 2017 when they launched their “Clean Room” (now called Ads Data Hub), as a way to protect consumer data but still enable modest collaboration with the advertisers that were funneling billions of dollars into their platform.

The other media titans, Facebook and Amazon, followed Google’s lead and built like offerings, called Facebook Advanced Analytics and Amazon Marketing Cloud.

Instead of longing for olden times, we knew it was time to take action. While data, of course, continued to flow, gone were the days of flying all of it into a central System of Intelligence.

We understood that, in this new decentralized context, the game was about bringing applications and intelligence to where data lived, with privacy for consumers and control for marketers and publishers.

A new way forward

As Habu’s Founders reflected on the future of analytics, measurement, data collaboration, and personalization, they saw a durable and very large opportunity. It became clear that a new kind of cloud infrastructure was needed to deliver data-driven marketing in the world of distributed data.

As with all first-gen technology, the data clean room as originally conceived was more of an idea, an attractive yet still incomplete vision.

Habu Founders crop

To make it work, the Habu team committed itself to industrializing and democratizing data clean rooms for every company that was seeking to share data responsibly not just with the titans, but among themselves as well.

Today, we’ve reached the tipping point. Every consumer-facing marketer and media company is blitzing to stand up its own data clean room environment for privacy-safe data collaboration.

Although this near-term technical imperative is all about distributed data, the business opportunity is far greater: to deliver on data-driven marketing in a privacy-first era. Meet Habu.

Habu was born

Habu’s entire reason for being is to conquer the potential chaos of distributed data by offering a cohesive, end-to-end, privacy-safe environment for companies to share data responsibly.

Data collaboration is not a new concept to us; however, these changing times require a new approach. Future-proofing data clean room infrastructure requires:

  • Controlled, auditable, permissioned movement of data to any system (including on-prem, cloud, relational, and no-SQL),
  • Continuous privacy compliance in the face of ever-changing regulations, and
  • Interoperability with all cloud-based systems, especially AWS, GCP, Snowflake, and Azure without the need to move data. Data cannot move.
Habu constellation blue

Flexible identity

We think we have it right at Habu and are proud to be collaborating with exacting pioneers like Activision and Pepsi who have fire-tested our platform.

In fact, our most progressive customers now leverage Habu’s technology outside of marketing and are rapidly surfacing and executing new use cases, such as internal data sharing across business units in highly regulated industries like financial services.

Team Habu is obsessed with getting it right and we look forward to collaborating with like-minded brands that are ready to challenge the status quo.