For some time now, Foursquare has been fighting its critics by arguing that it is building the “location layer for the internet.” It has followed through on some of that claim by integrating itself into Instagram and other services, but now it could be on the verge of something much bigger: sources tell BuzzFeed it is close to signing a significant data deal with Yahoo.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.