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Summary:

WalmartLabs has acquired a predictive analytics startup called Inkiru to bolster its ability to create better customer experiences through data. The division of Walmart was created in 2011 on a foundation of big data.

Walmart, it seems, will not go gently into that good night when it comes to the company’s fight against e-commerce giant Amazon. It offered more evidence of its longevity on Monday, as WalmartLabs, the company’s division dedicated to developing new technologies for the web and mobile worlds, acquired a predictive analytics startup called Inkiru.

Inkiru, which has created software for real-time predictive analytics for things like customer targeting and credit risk, seems like a fine fit with the WalmartLabs mission. On mobile devices, for example, being able to deliver deals to customers at the right time and the right place is critical. Here’s how WalmartLabs characterized the fit in a press release announcing the acquisition:

“Inkiru has developed an active learning system that combines real-time predictive intelligence, big data analytics and a customizable decision engine to inform and streamline business decisions. …
“Inkiru‘s predictive analytics platform will enable us to further accelerate the big data capabilities that @WalmartLabs has propelled forward at scale…including site personalization, search, fraud prevention and marketing. Walmart’s data scientists will now be able to work with big data directly and create impact faster than ever before.”

Not that WalmartLabs hasn’t been focused on building a more data-driven company since its inception. The division was created after the acquisition of social media startup Kosmix — which was co-founded by big data pioneer Anand Rajaraman — in 2011. Subsequent acquisitions include OneRiot, Tasty Labs and a cloud computing startup called OneOps.

All of these new capabilities around social, behavioral and mobile data are likely critical to Walmart as it attempts to keep relevant against Amazon and other e-commerce companies that have digital data in their DNA. Walmart has perfected data analysis and the big-box experience in its brick-and-mortar stores, but mastering the digital experience and even fusing that with the in-store experience takes a new set of skills that it seems determined to acquire.

To hear more about what WalmartLabs is up to from a data perspective, check out this interview with Stephen O’Sullivan as he talks about how the company is building and open sourcing big data tools.

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock user Sergey Nivens.

  1. Stephen O’ Sullivan is no longer with the company

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