Hewlett Packard Enterprise, better known as HPE, announced today that it has acquired Pachyderm, a startup developing a data science platform for “explicable, repeatable” AI. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed, nor was the purchase price. However, HP said it plans to integrate Pachyderm’s capabilities into a platform that will deliver a pipeline for automatically preparing, tracking, and managing machine learning processes.
Pachyderm software will remain available to existing and new customers – at least for now. HPE says the deal does not require any regulatory approvals and is likely to close this month.
Founded in 2014 by Joey Zwicker and Joe Doliner, a former Airbnb software engineer, Pachyderm provides tools for versioning (i.e. creating and managing) “enterprise” machine learning and AI projects. Using Pachyderm’s cloud-based and local products, users can automate some aspects of AI system development through data transformations, data workflows, and connectors.
Pachyderm also offered machine learning dataset versioning capabilities and a “Git-like” structure to facilitate collaboration between data scientists, as well as the ability to generate an immutable record for all activities and resources on the platform. It also hosted Pachyderm Hub, a fully managed service with an on-demand computing cluster for AI development.
Prior to the acquisition of HPE, Pachyderm managed to raise $28.1 million in venture capital from sponsors including Benchmark, Microsoft M12, Y Combinator and HEP’s Hewlett Packard Pathfinder. (Pathfinder invested in February 2022.) Among its clients were Shell, LogMeIn, Battelle Ecology and AgBiome.
HPE sees Pachyderm bolster its flagship product for AI development, the HPE Machine Learning Development Environment, which provides software to build and train machine learning models for applications such as computer vision, natural language processing, and data analytics. In the press release, HPE outlines the key benefits Pachyderm brings, including incremental data processing, visibility into the origin of data, and the ability to track different versions of data to understand when it was created or changed.
“As AI projects grow larger and increasingly involve complex datasets, data scientists will need repeatable AI solutions to effectively maximize machine learning initiatives, optimize infrastructure costs, and ensure data reliability and security no matter where they reside on your AI journey. HPE Vice President of High Performance Computing (HPC) and AI Justin Hotard said in a statement. “Pachyderm’s unique, repeatable AI software extends HPE’s existing large-scale AI portfolio to automate and accelerate AI and unlock greater capabilities in image, video and text analytics, generative AI, and other emerging large-scale language models needed to achieve transformational results.”
Pachyderm is HPE’s second AI-related acquisition since Determined AI in June 2021. Determined AI was similarly focused on creating a platform for building and retraining machine learning models.
HPE sees AI and HPC as a potential major source of profit, but the company has struggled to maintain momentum in an increasingly competitive market. In the Q4 2022 earnings report, HPE revenue from HPC and AI declined 14% year-on-year to $862 million, bringing its operating profit margin down to 3.5% from 14.2% in the prior-year period.