Leading data company invests in Madison-based startup

California-based Informatica Corp. sole investor in GreenBay Technologies Inc.

Bascom Hall
UW-Madison

Last updated on September 10th, 2019 at 03:38 pm

A leading provider in data integration software is investing in a Wisconsin-based startup.

Redwood City, California-based Informatica Corp. announced this week it is the sole investor in GreenBay Technologies Inc., a Madison-based company founded by University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of computer science AnHai Doan and two Ph.D. students that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques for data management.

Informatica said in a news release it will use GreenBay Technologies’ CloudMatcher technology to develop innovations that strengthen the impact of its AI-powered CLAIRE engine.

In explaining Informatica’s decision, Amit Walia, Informatica president of products and marketing, said GreenBay Technologies’ machine learning-based data management innovations are “practical, effective, and more advanced than anything we’ve seen.”

“GreenBay Technologies is a clear choice for investment and the right partner to advance our AI and machine learning research capabilities,” Walia said in the release.

The investment amount was not disclosed. Informatica says it invests $196 million each year in research and development. It has more than 3,800 employees in 80 offices across 26 countries.

Informatica was acquired in 2015 for $5.3 billion by European private-equity firm Permira and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

The fact a tech company of Informatica’s size was investing in GreenBay Technologies shows the startup has interesting technology, said Kathleen Gallagher, executive director at the Milwaukee Institute, a nonprofit group that promotes local technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

Gallagher added it also shows there is a lot of world-class technology coming from UW-Madison’s Department of Computer Sciences that can be commercialized.

Companies that find useful technologies in places like Madison also tend to set up a presence there. Microsoft and Google both have Madison offices, for instance, said Matt Cordio, co-founder and president of Skills Pipeline and Startup Wisconsin.

“Informatica is definitely a leader in the data software space, so I think it’s significant that they made an investment (in GreenBay Technologies),” Cordio said.

The investment also underscores the importance of funding and supporting university research in the field of computer science in Wisconsin, he added.

In turn, the new technologies developed from that financial backing can pay off in further investments in the startup ecosystem and growth in tech jobs in the region, said Cordio.

“Data is kind of the fuel of industry in the 21st Century,” he said. “The more jobs around data science and AI Wisconsin can attract and grow here, the better.”

In the release, Doan pointed out data is growing “by trillions of petabytes every year,” which require new management capabilities to keep up with this growth.

“Informatica’s investment and industry-leading expertise will enable GreenBay Technologies to work alongside the world’s leading enterprise cloud data management company to help thousands of Informatica customers unleash the power of data and accelerate their digital transformations,” he said.

The announcement by Informatica closely follows news that UW-Madison has established a new School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences. The university says computer sciences has grown to become its most popular undergraduate major, with more than 1,560 students in 2018.

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Alex Zank
Alex Zank covers commercial and residential real estate for BizTimes. Alex previously worked for Farm Equipment magazine and also covered statewide construction news at The Daily Reporter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he studied journalism, political science and economics. Having grown up in rural western Wisconsin, Alex loves all things outdoors, including camping, hiking, four-wheeling and hunting.