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In Brief

A database vendor called Objectivity has created a mobile app called GraphMyLife that aims to let consumers explore links between the people and content in their various social networks. I say “aims” because although the idea is pretty cool, the app is a bit laggy and confusing (at least on my phone). But cut Objectivity a break: it’s a specialized (and old) enterprise-tech company trying to humanize its graph database software.

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In Brief

Business intelligence and analytics startup Birst has raised a $38 million Series E round led by Sequoia Capital. Birst has been very busy in the past couple years, moving from SaaS to on-prem software, rethinking the data warehouse and even launching a Hadoop-based service. It looks like Birst is positioned to test the IPO waters like Qliktech and Tableau before it.

In Brief

Cleversafe, a Chicago-based provider of object-storage systems for housing massive amounts of data, has raised a $55 million series D round led by New Enterprise Associates. Apart from traditional storage workloads, Cleversafe has also made a name for itself as a replacement for HDFS in Hadoop environments. According to Crunchbase, the company has now raised $91.4 million since 2007.

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On The Web

Pamela “PJ” Jones, the proprietor of Groklaw, is shutting down operations in the wake of the Lavabit secure email service closure. Groklaw, which was originally set up to cover the long-running SCO v. Novell trial but went on to facilitate discussions around all sorts of open-source and patent issues, relied partly on anonymous user tips. Jones said email could no longer be trusted, and said she was personally trying to get off the internet as much as possible.

On The Web

The White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy published new guidelines and FAQs to ease adoption of President Obama’s open data policy. In May,  the president signed an order mandating that agencies use machine-readable and open data formats when they collect or create information so it can be re-used efficiently.

cbow
photo: Google's new deep learning architectures

Google researchers have developed new methods for analyzing language using deep learning techniques. They’ve also open sourced an implementation of their work so any researchers can experiment with it. It could be the first of many deep learning tools designed for mass consumption. Read more »

In Brief

When it comes to data, soccer is the new baseball. The latest issue of the Economist has an article breaking down English Premiere League soccer players using data, and a subsequent blog post includes an interactive tool from machine learning startup Ayasdi that lets readers explore the data. Earlier this week, Disney researchers presented their analysis of an entire year’s worth of ball-position data for a professional soccer league and how that can affect the outcome of games.

In Brief

A Chicago-based startup called AvantCredit has raised a $20 million series B round for its personal loan service that uses machine learning algorithms to assess credit-worthiness. AvantCredit closed a $34 million Series A round earlier this year. It’s taking a page out of the ZestFinance playbook — lending to underserved markets at rates less usurious than traditional payday-loan providers — although that company now acts only as an underwriter rather than an actual lender.

In Brief

Looker, a Santa Cruz, Calif.-based business intelligence startup, has raised a $16 million series A round from Redpoint Ventures and First Round Capital. In an age of data tools targeting lay users, Looker is taking a different approach by trying to empower smart data analysts with its custom modeling language. The company closed a $1.7 million seed round in March.

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