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W2O Group Buys Ravel in Big Week for Big Data Startups

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Posted April 20, 2012 By Pedro Hernandez     Feedback

W2O group takes Austin-based Big Data startup Ravel off the market as Splunk's IPO lights up Wall Street.

Little guys that tackle Big Data are having, well, a big week.

W2O Group announced that it had acquired Austin, Texas-based Ravel, a Big Data analytics software startup. Under the terms of the deal, W2O takes home Ravel's Big Data technology, pending patents and its development and consultant staff. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Ravel is the company behind GoldenOrb, the open source graph processing project. Meant to perform large-scale graph processing on cloud architectures, GoldenOrb is modeled after Google's scalable Pregel architecture and is built upon software from Apache Hadoop.

The company is an Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) startup. Operated by the IC2 Institute of The University of Texas at Austin, ATI has a history of successful software startup buy-outs. Examples include the Lombardi Software sale to IBM and BMC's acquisition of Phurnace.

According to Ravel, "GoldenOrb isn't just another big data processor." Ravel claims GoldenOrb's capabilities surpass those of Hadoop with the ability to provide analytics on terabytes of graph data while maintaining intact the relationships between the data. Ravel also touts the platform's developer-friendly massive graph algorithm acceleration, its knack for running analytics on entire data sets instead of just samples and its ability to scale affordably.

Ravel's methods of wrangling Big Data are what attracted W2O's attention, according to Steve Blackmon, Ravel's co-founder and vice president of Engineering. "This acquisition validates our unique approach to data challenges, the quality of the talent Ravel attracted and the technology we built," he said.

Comprised of WCG, Twist and W2O Venture, the W2O Group is a network of companies that specializes in marketing, communications, research and business development. With Ravel's technology and talent in the fold, the company hopes to use Big Data analytics to unearth trends in the marketplace for its clients.

"Ravel will enhance our team's ability to predict trends based on a combination of historical information and real-time insights so that our clients achieve advantages in the marketplace," said Bob Pearson, president of W2O Group, in a company statement. He added, "The future of pre-commerce and the emerging discipline of social commerce will be largely shaped by an organization's ability to see the playing field with more clarity than its peers."

(Pre-commerce is a term apparently coined by Pearson that he defines as "a time where customers make their own decisions to buy or support a brand before and after the transaction, with or without a company’s involvement.")

Wall Street, Meet Big Data

Ravel isn't the only startup making waves.

San Francisco-based Splunk kicked off its IPO, raising Big Data's profile on Wall Street. In its first day of trading yesterday, the company's stock skyrocketed to a peak of over $34, double its $17 initial offering price. As of this writing, Splunk is trading at $35.17.

Considered the first Big Data startup to go public, Splunk develops real-time business intelligence and Web analytics tools. Its Splunk Enterprise platform helps businesses collect, index and analyze data generated by enterprise applications, on both traditional IT architectures and the cloud.

Splunk is headed by CEO and chairman Godfrey Sullivan. Prior to Splunk, Sullivan was the CEO of Hyperion Solutions, a maker of enterprise performance management software. He was at the helm during the $3.3 billion blockbuster sale of Hyperion to Oracle in 2007.

More than 3,700 organizations, ranging from cloud providers to financial services companies, use Splunk Enterprise to derive business insights, improve data security and drive IT efficiency, according to the company. Its customers include Salesforce.com, LinkedIn, Cisco and Verizon Wireless.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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