Big data analytics food startup Hampton Creek has raised $90M in Series C funding in a round led by Horizons Ventures and Khosla Ventures with additional participation from Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin. Salesforce.com founder and CEO Marc Benioff and other private investors. Hampton Creek uses advanced analytics to identify plants that enable the production of egg-free food products that contain fewer artificial ingredients, taste better and are healthier than their competitors. The funds will be used to advance its research and development efforts and accelerate the distribution of its products in collaboration with other major food vendors. In particular, Hampton Creek intends to use the funding to expand its market presence in Asia by distributing an eggless scrambled egg product that responds to consumer and watchdog concerns about the lack of sanitary conditions in which eggs are harvested in Asia. To date, Hampton Creek’s products include Just Mayo and Just Cookies. The company intends to release Just Pasta and Just Scrambled in 2015. Meanwhile, on Thursday, multi-billion dollar food conglomerate Unilever recently dropped its October lawsuit against Hampton Creek that claimed Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo, eggless mayonnaise product is not mayonnaise because it lacks eggs. In dropping its lawsuit, Unilver backpedaled and praised “Hampton Creek’s commitment to innovation and its inspired corporate purpose,” while noting the sharing of “a vision with Hampton Creek of a more sustainable world.” Hampton Creek has now raised a total of $120M that includes $23M in Series B funding from earlier this year.
On December 17, Teradata announced the finalization of the acquisition of RainStor, a big data archiving company that specializes in archival solutions for Hadoop. The acquisition of RainStor gives Teradata ownership of RainStor’s technology for compressing and freezing Hadoop datastores for archival purposes. RainStor’s archival technology empowers companies to compress and store Hadoop data as Hadoop-based datasets proliferate throughout the enterprise in conjunction with the larger transition to data-driven operational and strategic analytics. The acquisition represents Teradata’s fourth major acquisition this year following upon the purchase of Revelytix, Hadapt and Think Big Analytics. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed although most of RainStor employees will remain in their pre-acquisition locations in San Francisco and Gloucester. The acquisition strengthens Teradata’s Hadoop solutions by augmenting its ability to provide customers with enterprise-wide data archival capabilities.
Nebula today announces an enhancement to Nebula Cosmos Enterprise, its turnkey OpenStack product that streamlines and simplifies the deployment and management of OpenStack private clouds. Notably, the latest release of Nebula Cosmos Enterprise brings the power of VLANS to OpenStack by allowing for the creation of VLANs within Nebula that connect to VLANs that are already part of a customer’s networking topology. By bringing VLAN technology to OpenStack, Nebula Cosmos Enterprise enables customers to benefit from its segmentation of network traffic and the attendant operational advantages of managing discrete networking pathways. Moreover, the latest release of Nebula Cosmos Enterprise boasts enhanced identity management functionality and integration with LDAP and Active Directory. Nebula Cosmos Enterprise also features advanced monitoring and performance management tools as well as integration with the NetApp storage infrastructure as illustrated by the graphic below:
The Nebula Cosmos Enterprise platform strives to bring the performance and economies of scale enjoyed by internet giants such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo to enterprises by means of turnkey solution for private cloud deployment, management and monitoring. While the goal of bringing the computing power, operational simplicity and economics enjoyed by Facebook and Google to the enterprise has morphed into the holy grail of contemporary cloud computing, the latest release of Nebula Cosmos stands to make its mark in the commercial OpenStack space by optimizing the operationalization of OpenStack-based private cloud deployment and management. Given that enterprises typically begin their cloud adoption journey by means of private clouds, Nebula’s VLAN technology promises to deliver one of the few OpenStack products with an enterprise-friendly networking infrastructure that allows customers to choose to avoid the complexities of software defined networking. As such, Nebula may well stand in line for acquisition by a larger technology player keen to get its hands on productized OpenStack technology as exemplified by EMC’s acquisition of Cloudscaling and Cisco’s purchase of Metacloud.
RapidMiner today announces the release of RapidMiner Streams, an application that leverages the power of Apache Storm to enable analytics on real-time streaming data. By integrating RapidMiner’s predictive analytics technology with Apache Storm, RapidMiner Streams enables real-time updates to RapidMiner’s advanced analytics in collaboration with incoming, streaming data that dictate iterative modifications to existing algorithms. The release of RapidMiner Streams means that the RapidMiner platform can now perform advanced analytics on streaming data with low latency, high throughput and enhanced computational performance. The integration of Apache Storm with RapidMiner adds to the over 1500 RapidMiner operators and subsequently enhances the platform’s ability to perform real-time predictive analytics. Use cases for RapidMiner’s analytics include analysis of free text customer feedback delivered online, data mining of millions of image files and analytics on wearable devices that prescribe users with an optimal exercise regimen to achieve their fitness goals based on historical data. RapidMiner’s analytics are enabled by way of a graphical user interface that allows analysts to combine operators for the ingestion, analysis and visualization of one or more datasets. Today’s announcement of the release of RapidMiner Streams and its concomitant integration with Apache Storm vaults the RapidMiner platform to tackle data from the internet of things and embrace use cases featuring massive volumes of streaming real-time data. As the universe of use cases that RapidMiner can handle proliferates, users should expect corresponding enhancements of the platform as customers enrich the product with feedback specific to data about their product and vertical.
1. The Rise of the Chief-IoT-Officer: In the not too distant past, there was an emerging technology trend called “eBusiness”. Many CEO’s wanted to accelerate the adoption of eBusiness across various corporate functions, so they appointed a change leader often known as the “VP of eBusiness,” who partnered with functional leaders to help propagate and integrate eBusiness processes and technologies within legacy operations. IoT represents a similar transformational opportunity. As CEO’s start examining the implications of IoT for their business strategy, there will be a push to drive change and move forward faster. A new leader, called the Chief IoT Officer, will emerge as an internal champion to help corporate functions identify the possibilities and accelerate adoption of IoT on a wider scale.
2. Analytics Will Be the #1 Priority for IoT Initiatives: 2014 was about sensors and devices. The initial objective of many IoT projects was about simply placing sensors on critical assets such as aircraft engines, cell phone towers, cargo containers, and more to start collecting data from real-time events. Early IoT pilots demonstrated the wealth of information made possible by sensors and connections. 2015 will be about value. The attention will quickly shift from simply “enabling IoT” to truly “generating benefits from IoT”. Timely analytics is key in gaining actionable insights from data, and hence, a prerequisite for realizing the full potential of IoT. To drive more business value from IoT, companies will analyze more real-time data and implement new, innovative ways of delivering analytics to the “edge” or source of data.
3. IoT Platform to IoT Platform Integration Will Drive Relevance: Forrester recently proclaimed “IoT software platforms will become the rage in 2015”. Indeed, many IoT software companies are thinking “platform” rather than just “modules” to help deliver something closer to a “whole offer” for customers. However, an IoT platform’s real value will be driven by its integration with other IoT platforms. The reality is that there is no single, end-to-end IoT platform, which can deliver device management, data aggregation, analytics, visualization, etc. for the breadth of potential IoT use-cases. Hence, the power and value proposition of an IoT platform will be driven by its connection and integration with other complementary IoT platforms.
4. Industrial/Enterprise IoT Will Take Center Stage in the Media Spotlight: Driven by well-publicized acquisitions (e.g. Google/Nest) and high-profile new products (e.g. Fitbit, Apple Watch, etc.), consumer IoT has received a disproportionate amount of media attention compared to industrial IoT. While consumer IoT will eventually be a huge market, the hype greatly outweighs the near-term reality with respect to adoption. However, the tide is turning and industrial IoT will take the spotlight in 2015 as the media starts to more frequently cover the massive opportunity and traction of enterprise IoT in driving efficiency and creating new business models (e.g. Harvard Business Review’s cover story on IoT in their November 2014 issue).
On Friday December 12, Hortonworks finished its first day of trading with a share price of $26.48, roughly 65% more than the IPO price of $16 per share. Hortonworks plans to raise $100M by means of 6,250,000 publicly available shares. Friday’s impressive showing bodes well for the Hadoop infrastructure and analytics market in 2015, particularly given that Hortonworks competitors are gearing up to execute IPOs in 2015 or shortly thereafter. Cloud monitoring and analytics vendor New Relic similarly gained in its first day of trading by rising 48% from $23 per share to $33.02 by the end of the day. The results represented a huge coup for venture capitalist Peter Fenton of Benchmark Capital, who serves on the board of directors of both companies. Whereas Hortonworks raised $100M in its IPO, New Relic raised $115M. The real winner in both of these IPOs, however, is Yahoo given that Yahoo owns roughly 20% of the shares of its spin-off Hortonworks and 16.8% of shares of New Relic.
Last week, Axcient recently announced the release of the latest version of its Axicent Business Recovery Cloud marked by faster replication and recovery times for its cloud-based Recovery as a Service platform. The Axcient Business Recovery Cloud now features the ability to migrate or recover physical servers as virtual machines in addition to drag and drop functionality that empowers customers to transfer large numbers of files and folders using Windows Explorer. Axcient’s integration with Windows Explorer enables customers to search for files and folders within their recovery infrastructure and subsequently transfer them en masse to the target device of their choice. The latest version of the Axcient Business Recovery Cloud also supports the ability to instantly recover a snapshot of an infrastructure from any point in time in addition to the most recent version. Moreover, advancements in Axcient’s data replication algorithm mean that replication occurs three times faster than before, enabling shorter RPO times and an enhanced ability to maintain copies of recent data and image versions. The enhancements collectively represent a significant upgrade to the Axcient by enhancing the platform’s replication and backup functionality while concurrently enriching the product’s search and recovery functionality. With this release, Axcient continues to disrupt the economics and operational agility of cloud-based recovery and consolidate its leadership position within the Recovery as a Service space.