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Dataminr, a New York-based company specializing in real-time information alerts, today announced that it purchased WatchKeeper, a data geovisualization platform, for an undisclosed amount. Dataminr, which says that the acquisition — its first — was a direct result of its series F funding, characterizes the move as one of its first to fuel the growth of its private sector business.
“The integration of WatchKeeper’s capabilities will provide Dataminr’s enterprise customers with a single-pane-of-glass experience, allowing them to view real-time alerts alongside relevant first- and third-party data framed through the context of their assets,” a spokesperson told VentureBeat via email. “About 95% of the more than 180,000 data sources that Dataminr integrates didn’t exist when the company was founded in 2009, and similarly, the business expects that 95% of the data sources it will integrate in the next 10 years have yet to be created. As such, the acquisition of WatchKeeper aligns with Dataminr’s mission to continue to be on the cutting edge of providing valuable, public information in real time.”
Dataminr, which was founded in 2009 by Yale graduates Ted Bailey, Sam Hendel, and Jeff Kinsey, offers a platform that detects patterns of emerging events and information from public data signals. The company claims to perform trillions of daily computations across billions of public data inputs in more than 150 languages, drawing on text, images, videos, logs from sensors, and multimodal combinations of these formats from blogs, social media, forums, local media, radio and audio, the deep and dark web, and internet of things devices.
On the other hand, WatchKeeper, the brainchild of Hugh Farquhar and Daniel Whatmuff, got its start in 2018 as a “critical event management” software service. Whatmuff has a background in software development and cloud-based platforms operating in high security environments. As for Farquhar, he spent 15 years in corporate security, 10 of which were working on global security and crisis management at Citibank, where he identified and managed natural disasters and “violent incidents.” Farquhar also consulted for companies operating in high threat environments including Iraq and Afghanistan.
WatchKeeper offers a mapping display that shows a company’s assets, physical security, and crises risk, which can be filtered by event, type, location, and severity. Customers can choose from a range of map styles and share events and locations with teams, with a feed that allows them to triage notifications and open cases in a timeline of activity. Companies can also set rules for alerts and create briefings with map views, leveraging WatchKeeper’s geofencing tools and communications engine. And they can automate geocoding based on addresses while performing tasks like importing staff contact information.
“For [use cases like] aviation, maritime, and travel, WatchKeeper provides an end-to-end solution for [customer], employee, and asset safety,” the company writes on its website. “You can integrate traveller, flight or vessel data, track assets in real time, and receive automatic alerts for threats to operations or customers — all in one real-time display. WatchKeeper helps organisations across the entire … cycle.”
WatchKeeper, which is based in the U.K., previously raised $1.4 million from MMC Ventures and Venrex over the course of two seed financing rounds.
Dataminr plans to combine WatchKeeper’s geovisualized data layers with its Pulse product to provide context around events. According to Bailey, clients will be able to see when events occur near their personnel, facilities, and supply chain to better assess the scope of potential business disruptions. WatchKeeper’s platform will also power navigation through contextual data, ranging from live weather data, forecasts, and traffic to internal company security camera, feeds, and sensor signals.
The new version of Pulse with WatchKeeper will be available through an early access program later this year, with wider availability planned for early 2022.
“Dataminr’s real-time event and information discovery platform have revolutionized real-time information, equipping corporations with the fastest, most comprehensive, and most accurate real-time information,” Bailey said in a press release. “By integrating WatchKeeper’s advanced geo-visualization platform into Dataminr Pulse, our alerts will be more deeply integrated into the crisis management workflows of corporations, enabling broader contextualization, deeper analysis, and faster action.”
Dataminr first came into the public eye in 2011, when it issued an alert that Osama bin Laden had been killed 23 minutes before major news organizations did. In 2019, Dataminr claimed to have detected the first signs of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan on local Chinese social media platforms like Weibo and went on to identify clusters indicating future spikes in 14 U.S. states. While the company has flirted with controversy, particularly around its law enforcement contracts, it hasn’t impacted business. The roughly 650-person company has reported a doubling in revenue three years in a row from its corporate enterprise business line.
Dataminr plans to eventually file for an initial public offering, most likely in 2023.
“We have only scratched the surface of potential use cases for Dataminr’s Platform, a horizontal capability that will power numerous future applications across the corporate enterprise. WatchKeeper’s advanced geovisualization platform will accelerate our efforts to unlock more corporate use cases for global corporate enterprises over the years to come,” Bailey continued.
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