Infosys buys stake in US start-up Waterline Data Science

Infosys Ltd has bought a minority stake in Waterline Data Science Inc, a start-up based in Delaware, USA, which helps companies make sense of large data sets, for $4 million.

Infosys' investment allows it to have ''a minority holding, not exceeding 20 per cent of the outstanding share capital of the company'' and it expects to close its investment by 4 February, the company said today.

Waterline Data Science is backed by former LinkedIn executive Dipchand 'Deep' Nishar, and Menlo Ventures and Jackson Square Ventures (formerly Sigma West).

The deal, which marks the Indian company's seventh investment from its $500 million innovation fund, could help generate revenue from its clients who want to make sense of data sets which are held in Hadoop, a large open source big data repository.

Hadoop is an open source software framework which allows companies, from banks to large manufacturing firms, to store data. It also offers these companies a set of functions to customize the data according to their needs, and globally, as most companies have relied on Hadoop, the software repository now holds an enormous amount of data. But fishing out data from Hadoop has been a tedious task. This process has been made easier by the emergence of start-ups like Waterline Data Science which through its intelligent platforms automates some of the work of finding data. Interestingly, Waterline Data Science emerged from stealth mode only in October last year.

''We see a need for automated data discovery solutions like Waterline Data Science in helping our clients achieve greater business value from their Big Data assets,'' Ritika Suri, senior vice-president of corporate development at Infosys, said.

Infosys's approach of picking minority stakes in start-ups focused on new-age technologies underlines chief executive Vishal Sikka's so-called 'New and Renew' strategy to reinvigorate India's second-largest software services company.

Infosys has spent $29.4 million to buy stakes in six start-ups and invested an undisclosed amount in September to become a limited partner in Vertex Ventures, a Palo Alto-based venture capital firm.

Infosys invested $4 million in CloudEndure, an Israeli start-up that helps large companies move applications to cloud and cloud-based disaster recovery software, and $3 million in a Delaware, US-based start-up Whoop, which makes activity trackers, in December last year.

The company also paid $1.4 million for a 5% stake in ANSR Consulting, a Bengaluru firm that helps global firms set up offshore captive centres in India; $15 million in a spin-off unit of Dreamworks Animation; and $2 million to pick a minority stake in AirViz, a personal air quality monitoring start-up from Carnegie Mellon University.

Infosys also bought three firms in 2015, spending $390 million to purchase automation technology provider Panaya, digital commerce firm Skava and Noah Consulting Llc.