Goldman Sachs has made its first foray into big data in Asia by investing the lion’s share of a $56m round of funding for Antuit, a data analytics start-up in Singapore.
The investment by the bank’s private equity arm illustrates Goldman’s interest in new big data technologies in Asia and Singapore’s emerging role as the region’s hub for a rapidly growing industry that has long been centred around Silicon Valley.
Big data is the capture and analysis of data — whether numbers or even social media output such as Tweets and Instagram photos — to discern patterns in human behaviour for commercial purposes, such as targeted online advertising.
The market is dominated by Intel, Qualcomm and Google but smaller players are emerging, often with the backing of Silicon Valley investors. Financial institutions, too, are looking increasingly beyond traditional compliance systems to big data and new technology to root out illicit behaviour.
Goldman Sachs has bet on big data in the US, including investing $90m in AvePoint, a New Jersey company, last year and the previous year pouring $100m into Applied Predictive Technologies, a cloud-based “predictive analytics” software company in Virginia.
Antuit, founded less than two years ago, specialises in big data services for company supply chains and sales and marketing operations, and also has offices in New York, Seattle, Auckland and Bangalore.
The funding for Antuit includes money from Zodius Capital, an India-based investor in enterprise software and mobile internet companies.
Antuit said the money would be used for “further global expansion through organic growth and acquisitions”. Ankur Sahu, co-head of private equity at Goldman Sachs in Asia, will join the Antuit board.
Arijit Sengupta, Antuit chief executive, said: “The rapidly growing $10bn-plus big data services market is ripe to be organised and consolidated under a market leader. Goldman Sachs . . . brings us not only capital but also deep expertise around how to grow into such a company and a global network of corporate relationships.”
Singapore three years ago began promoting itself as Asia’s data hub, and the government expects data analytics to contribute S$1bn ($750m) to the city-state’s economy by the end of 2017.
In partnership with the National University of Singapore, Antuit is working on a way to more accurately predict movements in the Straits Times technology stock index by analysing data on Singapore’s imports and exports of technology.
Antuit says this “trade index” will enable companies to make more accurate sourcing and inventory management decisions.
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