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IBM acquires Israeli startup Databand to boost data capabilities

Deal finalized in June under undisclosed terms; Databand employees to join IBM Data and AI operations

Ricky Ben-David is The Times of Israel’s Tech Israel editor and reporter.

The logo for IBM appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, March 18, 2019. (AP/ Richard Drew/ File)
The logo for IBM appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, March 18, 2019. (AP/ Richard Drew/ File)

US tech giant IBM said Wednesday that it acquired Israeli startup Databand.ai, the developer of a data observability software platform for data scientists and engineers, to strengthen the multinational’s data, artificial intelligence, and automation offerings.

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. According to the agreement, Databand employees will join the IBM Data and AI division to further enhance IBM’s portfolio of data and AI products including its IBM Watson, a question-answering computer system, and IBM Cloud Pak for Data, a data analytics platform.

IBM said the acquisition was finalized in late June and that the purchase will build on IBM’s research and development investments, as well as strategic acquisitions in AI and automation. Databand is IBM’s fifth acquisition this year, the company noted.

Databand was founded in 2018 by Josh Benamram, Victor Shafran, and Evgeny Shulman, and rolled out a software platform that the company says helps enterprises and organizations get on top of their data to ensure “data health” and fix issues like errors and anomalies, pipeline failures, and general quality.

The data observability and data quality market is likely to see further growth, as more organizations look to closely track and protect their data. A Statista report estimated that the sector will grow from about $13 billion in worth in 2020 to almost $20 billion in 2024.

Based in Tel Aviv, Databand has raised about $20 million, according to the Start-Up Nation Finder database, with investors such as VCs Accel, Blumberg Capital, Ubiquity Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Hyperwise, and F2 Ventures.

“By using Databand.ai with IBM Observability by Instana APM [an application performance monitoring solution] and IBM Watson Studio, IBM is well-positioned to address the full spectrum of observability across IT operations,” IBM said in the announcement Wednesday.

“Our clients are data-driven enterprises who rely on high-quality, trustworthy data to power their mission-critical processes. When they don’t have access to the data they need in any given moment, their business can grind to a halt,” said Daniel Hernandez, general manager for IBM Data and AI, in a statement.

“With the addition of Databand.ai, IBM offers the most comprehensive set of observability capabilities for IT across applications, data and machine learning, and is continuing to provide our clients and partners with the technology they need to deliver trustworthy data and AI at scale,” he explained.

Benamram, who serves as Databand CEO, said: “You can’t protect what you can’t see, and when the data platform is ineffective, everyone is impacted –including customers. That’s why global brands such as FanDuel, Agoda and Trax Retail already rely on Databand.ai to remove bad data surprises by detecting and resolving them before they create costly business impacts.

Joining IBM will help Databand “scale our software and significantly accelerate our ability to meet the evolving needs of enterprise clients,” he added.

Databand is one of a number of leading Israeli data observability companies including Coralogix, which raised a $142 million Series D funding round announced in May, and Monte Carlo, which secured a $135 million Series D round at a valuation of $1.6 billion, also in May.

Separately, IBM has been active in Israel for decades and runs an R&D center in Tel Aviv and a research lab in Haifa.

The Haifa team is the largest lab of IBM Research Division outside of the United States. Founded as a small scientific center in 1972, it grew into a lab that leads the development of innovative technological products and cognitive solutions for the IBM corporation. Its various projects utilize AI, cloud data services, blockchain, healthcare informatics, image and video analytics, and wearable solutions.

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