12 things you didn’t know about Collibra

This month, we’re celebrating 12 years since the founding of Collibra. The journey from a Semantics Lab spinoff at the Vrije Universiteit in Brussels back in 2008 to the global market leader in Data Intelligence today has been a long and eventful one, filled with learning, success, failure and great stories along the way. To reflect and acknowledge some of the things that helped make us who we are as a company, we’re taking a look into the memory vaults and are excited to share 12 of our favorite facts about Collibra. These tidbits have shaped who we are and where we’re going, and offer a glimpse into some of the innovation that has fueled us since day one.

  1. The origin of the name “Collibra” has a few folklore variations – but the hidden truth is that it’s the combination of the words “collaboration” and “library,” which speak to our roots as a data glossary and our focus today on helping organizations collaborate on their data across the enterprise.
  2. Speaking of the company name – our founders originally intended to name the company Loqus, but changed it due to the presence of a few other similarly named companies.
  3. Forget about Esperanto – ever thought about learning “Collibrese”? It’s our own internal language which is mainly used to talk about operating models. It’s widely spoken by our customers, field, product and engineering teams. This terminology is even documented within our own instance of the product, dg.collibra.com (Yes, we drink our own champagne! Learn more about that from our CTO, Stijn Christiaens
  4. Collibra’s first product, originally named RidlPumper, enabled systems to talk with each other using semantics. It was based on Ω-RIDL, a formal language that allows the specification of ontological commitments and conceptual querying of heterogeneous data sources. Eventually, we decided to change the name to Information Enabler as we found it better represented the functionality of the product.
  5. Our Polish office has had the same ping pong table since November 2013 – it’s been through four office moves, one expansion and it still serves as an entertainment staple to this day. 
  6. The Collibra Ranger certification is the most prestigious certification one can receive through Collibra University. While it isn’t part of the curriculum, if you ask enough people at Collibra, you might get the chance to hear the tune and lyrics to our officially unofficial “Collibra Ranger” song.
  7. Our first Collibra office was in an incubator, and at the time we were the only company in the building. Our founders, proud of the new logo and the start of the company, decided to put up our flag outside on the main building directory. Unknowingly, this was against the incubator’s policy and sparked some controversy with the building administrators. The banner remained until it one day disappeared.   
  8. The inspiration for the idea behind Collibra came in the form of a random phone call one day in a Brussels university research lab. One of our cofounders heard the phone ring and answered it. The resulting conversation was about the data integration research that was being conducted and the opportunities that existed beyond the lab. This became a catalyst for the original founders, who were all researchers in the same lab, to realize that they could actually do more to make data meaningful
  9. Our internal code names for new releases have been nautical-themed (Captain, Commodore, etc.). Our most recent release is internally referred to as Safe Harbor, an internal nod to our past, but looking forward to the cloud-native journey ahead.
  10. We have our own currency called the “Collibrian Dollar,” which was originally minted by our UX team and printed for a product brainstorm exercise with our customers and partners at our Data Citizens event several years back. Each customer and partner received a budget of 1,000 Collibrian Dollars to spend on a product functionality of their choice. Rumor has it that if you follow the right lineage diagrams, you’ll find a secret “X” marking the location of the buried currency.   
  11. We receive fan art from our customers! One of our favorites is a customized coffee mug using Collibra Diagram “functionality” to govern the “coffee process.” 
  12. And last, but definitely not least, our original position was semantic data integration. After about a year, we pivoted towards data governance because we understood that this was the future and that businesses would eventually need to take ownership of their data. At that time, Collibra was the only company solely focused on data governance. This enabled us to lead and shape the market, and paved the way for us to later become the Data Intelligence company.

We hope you learned something new about Collibra! We are so proud to be celebrating 12 years in this exciting space and more than a decade helping companies make their data meaningful.