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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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In Brief

Predictive analytics specialist NICE has acquired Causata, a marketing analytics startup built around a core of big data and machine learning technologies. Causata should bolster NICE’s customer-engagement platform that helps companies better understand their customers. The four-year-old Causata has raised $23 million in venture capital, all from Accel Partners.

On The Web

Curt Monash has some interesting data points on Hortonworks and the Hadoop market from its point of view — competitive landscape, cluster size, hardware setups, etc. Also word that Eric Baldeschwieler is doing “his own thing.”

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