• Venture Capital
  • Experfy Editor
  • JUL 14, 2014

Big Data Funding Rounds (July 14, 2014): Databricks, RetailNext, Luminoso, Amplitude

Databricks, the commercial start-up from the developers of Apache Spark and Shark project, bags $33 million in series B funding. The round was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and a previous investor Andreessen Horowitz.

The company specializes on big data analytics software that aims to provide accurate value from data. The platform is centred on Apache Spark and Shark which was the original project out of which the company Databricks was born in 2013, after receiving their first investment of $14 million from Andreessen Horowitz.

Along with the funding, Databricks also announced their newest product: a new cloud platform, Databricks Cloud, based on Apache Shark. Its main purpose would be to simplify the processing of big data analytics by eliminating the need to manage Hadoop clusters.

RetailNext, the leading marketing analytics service, has managed to raise $30 million in series D funding. The round was led by Nokia Growth Partners, along with strategic corporate investors such as Qualcomm Ventures, Tyco, Amex Ventures (a part of American Express). Previous investors August Capital, StarVest Partners, Commerce Ventures also participated along with a new investor Activant Capital Group.

RetailNext offers exhaustive real-time analytics for the use of retailers and manufacturers to help analyse customer shopping pattern, along with other in-store data. Its patented highly detailed solution includes video analytics, point-of-sale systems, weather information and other data, informing customer engagement with the stores.

Found in 2007, it was one of the first companies to provide applied Big Data for physical retail. The company has a steady growth, already operating in 40 countries and a rich customer base that includes Bloomingdales, American Apparel, Brookstone, Mont Blanc among others.

The funding will be utilized for expansion in Asia, Europe, and Latin America, besides other “emerging markets,” according to a statement from the company. The new investment will also be spent on research and development and to enhance existing technologies and further product development. 

Luminoso, a text analytics company based in Cambridge, MA raised $6.5 million in Series A funding led by New York venture firm Acacia Woods along with Digital Garage.

Sprung out of MIT Media Labs in 2010, Luminoso provides efficient way to tap meaning from vast unstructured texts generated by social media users. According to CEO and co-founder Catherine Havasi, their data modelling and machine learning capabilities automate the task of building the taxonomy, which is the biggest hurdle in generating meaning from users’ texts. Their system sees past the metaphors and slangs used by people and infers the contextual meaning automatically.

The analytics has helped numerous Fortune 1000 brands to understand reception of their products in the market, from the conversations of its users. Luminoso has so far worked with MARS, Intel, Scotts, REI and ConAgrea. In addition to this, Luminoso had recently partnered with Sony for analysing conversations in One Stadium Live, a social network dedicated to the 2014 World Cup.

What differentiates Luminoso from its competitors, according to Havasi, is the human element in building the taxonomy. While Luminoso is fully automated, most others require humans to do the same.

The fund raised would be used for hiring more employees and for an overall development of the company, according to company statement.

Amplitude, the mobile analytics company formed by Y- Combinator developers, bagged $1.75 million in seed funding from an array of investors: SV Angel, Charlie Cheever, Dave Morin, Quest Venture Partners, Data Collective, Merus Capital, BoxGroup, Adam Draper besides others.

The company spun out of Y- Combinator when the founders were developing a text-by-voice application they called Sonalight. While building the app, they created their own tool to analyse data in a customized manner, thus realizing the potential of the analytics itself.

Amplitude concentrates on providing a mobile analytics platform, also offering a freemium service. It has integrated data visualization tools and supports exporting data to Amazon Redshift- a unique feature that helps it stand out from even the big players like Mixpanel, Kontagent and others.

Amplitude owes its tremendous growth and success to its high- calibre engineering workforce. The company plans to use the seed funding to further develop its sales and engineering aspects of their business to enhance their product.

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