ARM Holdings, the UK-based chipmaker owned by Japanese technology and investment conglomerate SoftBank, is on the cusp of buying US data analytics start-up Treasure Data for around $600 million.
Bloomberg cited unnamed sources who said that ARM would be looking to boost its IoT ambitions with the acquisition of the seven-year old, Mountain View CA-based startup. If confirmed, the deal would be ARM’s second biggest, after its 2004 purchase of Artisan Components for $900 million.
Treasure Data has so far raised $54.1 million from several funding rounds, with investors such as Scale Venture Partners, Innovation Network Corp, and Sierra Ventures all backing the company.
It claims that its platform enables a single view of customer data to help businesses make data-driven decisions. That data could come from traditional sources, such as transactions, call centre interactions, social media and website data, but increasingly, it also comes from connected or smart devices as customers use them.
Treasure Data’s says that its platform can consume all of that data, correlate it, and use machine learning to help companies act on the resulting insights.
Treasure Data’s co-founder and chief technology officer Kazuki Ohta is a Japanese software engineer, who established the company in Silicon Valley in 2011, after previously founding the world’s largest user group for open source big data framework Hadoop in Japan.
The company’s CEO, Hiro Yoshikawa, is also Japanese and previously worked as a Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist for Mitsui Ventures. Some of Treasure Data’s most high-profile customers are Japanese, too, including automotive company Subaru and retailer Muji.
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For ARM, the acquisition would follow last month’s purchase of Stream Technologies, a company that offers technology that supports the connectivity of IoT devices across wireless protocols.
ARM has been focusing on the IoT for a number of years, particularly after SoftBank acquired the Cambridge, England-based chip designer in September 2016 for $31 billion.
Along with the IoT, the Japanese company has been investing heavily in artificial intelligence, driverless cars, robotics, and ride sharing, with about $34 billion in deals made in the last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It invests in technology companies through its nearly $100 billion Vision Fund.
Other high-profile investments made by SoftBank include office sharing group WeWork and robotics company Boston Dynamics, which it bought from Google’s parent Alphabet. It is also the owner of Aldeberan Robotics – now SoftBank Robotics – maker of the Pepper and NAO humanoids, and of the Romeo care robot platform, which has long been in development.
Plus: SoftBank comes to Dublin
In related news this week, week, SoftBank announced that it will be coming to Dublin to participate in its smart city test bed programme. The company has already provided services for local authorities in Japan, but the project in Dublin is its first European venture into smart cities.
The partnership will focus on sustainable mobility, the environment, safety, security, and disaster prevention and mitigation.
ARM has said it is open to considering partnerships with Dublin-based companies to help with its own future projects. “We are looking for partners, we are looking for an alliance. If investing is something more effective than a partnership or alliance, that is an option,” said Hidebumi Kitahara, SoftBank’s vice president of global business strategy.
Dublin is rapidly becoming a magnet for smart-city thinking. Back in February, a group of international chief technology officers – representing over 20 cities worldwide, including San Jose, Moscow, Tel Aviv, and Paris – met in the Irish capital to start work on a framework for the development of so-called ‘smart districts’.
This meeting of the Smart City Innovation Accelerator group was convened by the Harvard-linked Technology and Entrepreneurship Centre.
Additional reporting and analysis: Sooraj Shah.