Home Startups Tableau Acquires MIT AI Spinoff

Tableau Acquires MIT AI Spinoff

With artificial intelligence technologies proving to be highly useful in improving the lives of human beings in various areas such as banking, healthcare, and transportation among others, technology companies are doing all they can to leverage it in improving their operations. Aside from recruiting artificial intelligence (AI) experts and investing a lot of money in creating an AI team, technology companies have resulted in the acquisition of AI-based startups, for instance, Tableau Software’s recent acquisition of Empirical Systems.

Empirical Systems is an eight-person artificial intelligence (AI) startup that is located in Cambridge, Mass. The buyer intends not only to incorporate the startup’s technology into the Tableau platform but also to create a new R&D base right in Cambridge. Tableau, a Seattle-based publicly traded business intelligence technology and data Visualization Company recently revealed details about the acquisition. However, the company did not disclose the information regarding the acquisition price or even other agreed-upon financial terms. Before the deal, Empirical Systems had secured $2.5 million in financing.

Empirical System is a spin-off MIT’s Probabilistic Computing Project. It did so back in 2016 by concentrating on what the startup’s chief executive officer Richard Tibbetts refers to as small data. According to him small data, entail situations where you would usually require a professional statistician to analyze because the data is expensive, sparse or the domain is sophisticated.

Empirical’s focus aligns appropriately with Tableau’s plan. In fact, the Seattle-based company claims that the startup’s technology will provide its customers with artificial intelligence (AI) driven tools in a bid to better comprehend and assess their data. Tableau is currently competing with data visualization products from various companies such as the nearby technology giants like Amazon and Microsoft. These companies boast large teams or even divisions of artificial intelligence experts at their disposal.

READ MORE – Tableau Unveils Machine Learning API to Data Visualizations

According to Francois Ajenstat, the chief product offer at Tableau, automatic idea generation will help people devoid of specialized data science expertise in easily identifying trends in their data, spotting areas for additional exploration simulate hypothetical situations and test different assumptions. He also acknowledged that Empirical Systems shares Tableau’s vision of providing deeper insights through smart analytics.

MIT alumni including Vikash Mansinghka, Madeleine Thompson and Tibbetts, created Empirical Systems back in 2016. Also, Tibbetts, the chief executive officer previously created StreamBase, an event real-time and processing analytics company that TIBCO Software acquired in 2013. On the other hand, Thompson, the startup’s head of engineering, previously worked at Google as a software engineer.

Since 2016, Adam Selipsky, the former executive of Amazon Web Services, has been leading Tableau as its CEO. The company’s stock rose by over 68 percent in the previous year and recently closed at $101.17 for a single share. The share price will continue to rise in pre-market trading due to the announcement of the acquisition of Empirical Systems.

Although Tableau has still not divulged its plans for expanding its Cambridge-based R&D office, the recent announcement about the acquisition describes the location as a city that is rich in talent.

Source Geekwire


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KC Cheung
KC Cheung has over 18 years experience in the technology industry including media, payments, and software and has a keen interest in artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, neural networks and its applications in business. Over the years he has worked with some of the leading technology companies, building and growing dynamic teams in a fast moving international environment.
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