Salesforce has acquired MetaMind, a deep learning startup backed by Salesforce cofounder and chief executive Marc Benioff. The startup’s services will stop working on May 4. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
“Salesforce plans to integrate MetaMind’s technology into Salesforce services,” MetaMind cofounder and chief executive Richard Socher wrote in a blog post. “For unpaid web users, MetaMind’s products will be discontinued on May 4. For our monthly recurring users, MetaMind’s products will be discontinued on June 4. We’ll delete any data we have stored for unpaid web users and monthly recurring users after April 11.”
Deep learning is a type of artificial intelligence that many large technology companies — like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter — have invested in by way of acquisitions or in-house research. The technique generally involves training artificial neural networks on large sets of data and then having them make inferences about new data.
Last month Salesforce acquired machine learning startup PredictionIO, and last year it acquired and shut down smart calendar app Tempo AI. Meanwhile, Salesforce has been building up a data science team, with key members coming from LinkedIn.
MetaMind launched in late 2014. The startup was on my 5 deep learning startups to follow in 2015 list. The startup’s image recognition capabilities outperformed those of other companies in my own highly unscientific testing. The MetaMind team focused on recursive neural networks, which Socher worked on while doing his Ph.D. at Stanford University.
Investors other than Benioff included Khosla Ventures.