Lattice Engines Gets New Cash, Sees 'Big Data' Gains Ahead

  @DavidZie on November 28 2012 7:55 AM
Technicians monitor data flow in the control room of an internet service provider.
More employers globally and in the United States are having trouble finding skilled technicians, sales representatives and engineers. Reuters

The dictionary defines “lattice” an an interlaced structure. At Lattice Engines, CEO Shashi Upadhyay believes his company's salesPRISM software will be the foundation to unlock new sales leads and integrate them with new information.

With more than 15 million U.S. businesses, sales staffs of big companies need to tap the universe of so-called “Big Data” to get the latest information about their prospects, Upadhyay said.

 

With salesPRISM, the software developed by the fledgling company in San Mateo, Calif., they can winnow out unnecessary information and be left with the most pertinent data they need, the CEO said.

 

The alternative is to build their own search engine, something that only the biggest companies and banks “who can hire hundreds of Ph.D.s can do,” using software from either International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), the No. 2 computer maker, or private SAS Institute, of Cary, N.C., Upadhyay said.

 

This week, Lattice Engines announced it had raised an additional $20 million from two blue-chip venture capital firms, prior investor Sequoia Capital of Menlo Park, Calif., and New Enterprise Associates of Baltimore. The firms have decades of successful investments in companies ranging from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) to Groupon (Nasdaq: GRPN).

 

The funds brought Lattice Engine's cumulative total to about $36 million since the company started as a management consultancy in 2004, then morphed into a full-fledged developer in 2006, said Upadhyay, 42, a former McKinsey consultant who holds a doctorate in physics form Cornell.

 

The new funds will be used to keep developing salesPRISM, expand the sales staff and target smaller businesses beyond what Lattice Engines now considers its “Fortune 5000” strategy, the CEO said.

 

The company now employs about 140 people, about half in the main office, with others in satellite offices in Boston, New York, Austin, Texas, and the UK, the CEO said. There are also about 25 top engineers in Beijing, legacy of the acquisition of private Chinese company Black Atoms earlier this year.

 

The international offices help localize versions of salesPRISM to the Chinese and Japanese, Upadhyay said, which is a benefit to sales staff.

 

Quarterly revenue at Lattice Engines suggests the annual rate is only between $15 million and $25 million, the CEO said, although that's poised to expand greatly with expanded sales staff.

 

Clients, such as Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) and Automatic Data Processing (Nasdaq: ADP), access the software paying “a few thousand dollars a month” to far higher amounts, depending upon how much data they require.

 

Because the data are geared to sales personnel, everything is accessible via smartphones and tablets, Upadhyay said.

 

The CEO said he's mindful that small analytics and Big Data companies are often targets of aggressive buyers such as IBM, Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) and Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM), all very active in the sector.

 

For now, Upadhyay said, he's just focussed on expanding Lattice Engines's prospects with the new cash.

 

 

 

 

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