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Skytree Gets $18M Push from UPS, Scott McNealy Et Al

It has apparently been functioning on a $1.5 million seed round since early last year

Predictive analysis start-up Skytree, which touts itself as "the machine learning company," has raised a handsome, reportedly oversubscribed $18 million A round from US Venture Partners (USVP) and a so-called investor syndicate that include UPS, the giant delivery company, and Scott McNealy, the former CEO of Sun Microsystems.

Skytree has apparently been functioning on a $1.5 million seed round since early last year, when it came out of stealth mode. Javelin Venture Partners and Osage University Partners, which contributed to the early money, are also part of the A round.

Skytree thinks its real-time machine learning platform can disrupt the Big Data analytics market and expects to use the new financing to "aggressively grow" its engineering and sales efforts in response to what is it says is "expanding demand" for its product.

It's only got 20 people now so it'll be hiring talent.

The kind of chi-chi enterprise-grade algorithms that Skytree will basically be peddling in its software, which is called Skytree Server, are the kind that have previously been proprietary and reserved to, say, the big financial houses or the likes of Google that can afford to develop them.

Skytree's widgetry runs on commodity boxes and promises all comers the ability "to discover deep analytic insights, predict future trends, make recommendations and reveal untapped markets and customers."

It figures predicative analytics is bound to become a "must have technology" and that it's got a leg up on the competition.

USVP general partner Rick Lewis, who gets a board seat for leading the round, said, "Since the company's launch in February 2012, customers have validated our view that Skytree has a huge lead in this fast-growing market. Skytree's team, technology, and customer traction have made Skytree the company to beat in applying machine learning for advanced analytics." Of course, he gets paid to say such things, but it may be a fair analysis.

Skytree's flagship product - Skytree Server - is the only general-purpose scalable machine learning system on the market and is supposed to be built for accuracy, unprecedented speed and scale.

Skytree is exploiting the cachet it gets from having McNealy as an investor.

He's been lying pretty low since Oracle bought Sun, distracting himself with the online polling start-up Wayin, where he is chairman.

Skytree co-founder and CEO Martin Hack is described on the company's web page as having been an advisor to many Fortune 500 companies and having "developed and introduced products and services into virtually every commercial and government, channel and market segment for organizations such as Sun Microsystems..."

Skytree counts the United States Golf Association among its customers. Betcha McNealy, an avid golfer, gave them that lead. Other customers include eHarmony and the SETI Institute.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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