Startup News: Databricks makes acquisition to gain more AI customers

Databricks, a leading privately held data analytics company, is acquiring data-management startup Tabular.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Databricks wouldn’t specify how much it paid for Tabular but added that the price was between $1 billion and $2 billion. The Journal reported that the deal is expected to close before July 31, 2024, and most of Tabular’s team of about 40 employees will join Databricks.

The Journal wrote last week that Databricks’ purchase of Tabular comes at a time when Databricks is seeking to remain competitive with publicly traded data analytics company Snowflake.

“For Databricks and Snowflake, that means waging battle over one of the most valuable assets in the AI race: business data,” the Journal writes. “Data is a critical part of enabling generative AI because vast quantities of it are needed to train AI models like OpenAI’s GPT-4 and Anthropic’s Claude.”

Founded in 2014, San Francisco-based Databricks’ Forge Price™ is $68.07 as of June 6, 2024, which implies a valuation of $39.84 billion. The company is backed by over a dozen big-name investors including Amazon Web Services, Andreessen Horowitz, BlackRock, ClearBridge Investments, Coatue Management, Fidelity, and Franklin Templeton.

AI firm Cohere has raised $450M in new funding round

Cohere, a rival to generative AI firms such as OpenAI and Anthropic, has raised $450 million in funding from a mix of old and new investors, according to Reuters.

A source familiar with the funding round told the news agency last week that Cisco, the global networking company, and Canadian pension fund PSP Investments are new investors in Cohere, joining existing investors Nvidia, the AI chip company, and Salesforce Ventures in this latest round.

A source told Reuters that the funding round ends the initial tranche of Cohere's latest fundraising efforts, with the company still in the hunt to raise more dollars in a round that effectively values the company at $5 billion.

Founded in 2019, Cohere, based both in Toronto, Canada, and San Francisco, Calif., had a valuation of $2.1 billion as of the June 2023 Series C funding round, according to TechCrunch.

Germany urges Northvolt to build second EV battery plant in country

Expansion appears to be on the horizon for Swedish EV battery maker Northvolt.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Germany’s economics minister, speaking at a business conference, urged Northvolt to build a second large factory in northern Germany as part of the government’s effort to attract environmentally friendly investments.

The minister, Robert Habeck, pointed out that other leading companies including BASF and Volkswagen are producing EV batteries in Germany. In March 2024, Northvolt began construction of an EV factory in the small northern German city of Heide. The project, according to Bloomberg, is receiving more than €900 million in handouts and other incentives from the German government.

In December 2023, the company announced the development of a sodium-ion battery that could potentially power coming generations of electric vehicles without using costly and scarce raw materials.

About the Author

John Kimelman is a veteran journalist who has worked at Barron’s and CNBC covering such topics as investing and commercial banking. Mr. Kimelman has received compensation from Forge Global, Inc. for authoring this article. Read more from John.

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