Salesforce buys AI specialist MetaMind to avoid being ‘flanked'

MetaMind's founder is now chief scientist at Salesforce

Salesforce.com's automation efforts got a boost Monday with the news it has acquired AI startup MetaMind.

Salesforce will integrate MetaMind's technology into its own services for new marketing-automation and personalization capabilities, according to a blog post from MetaMind founder Richard Socher.

"We'll extend Salesforce's data science capabilities by embedding deep learning within the Salesforce platform," Socher wrote.

Socher's personal Web page now lists his title as chief scientist at the customer relationship management giant.

MetaMind's products will be discontinued on May 4 for users of its free versions, and on June 4 for paid users. The company plans to continue its AI research, however, and will still pursue candidates for its open positions, Socher said.

Salesforce confirmed the deal but declined to provide further details.

MetaMind’s technology is based on deep-learning research done by Socher at Stanford, where he earned his PhD in 2014. The company launched that same year with $8M in funding from Salesforce Chairman Marc Benioff as well as Khosla Ventures.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are hot technologies for new applications, and Microsoft, Google and Amazon have all made moves in this area, noted Frank Scavo, president of Computer Economics.

Microsoft, for instance, has made advances with Azure Machine Learning and Cortana.

"For Salesforce to keep up, it either needs to partner or acquire technology and people with these skills," Scavo said. "MetaMind looks to me like Salesforce wants to buy its way into these capabilities."

"They need to do this or they could be flanked," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights and Strategy. "They are many years behind."

Salesforce has made a strong of related acquisitions lately. In February, it bought machine learning startup PredictionIO, and last year it bought and then shut down the smart calendar app Tempo AI. It also bought MiniHash in December for marketing intelligence.

Looking ahead, MetaMind's ongoing development should help Salesforce incorporate AI technologies and functions across a broad range of processes and markets, said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT.

"Overall, this appears to be a wise acquisition with potentially significant long-term benefits for Salesforce and its customers," King said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

fdgfd www.google.com

Caroline Natalia

How WW shifted physical engagement to virtual success in 5 days

Read more

I found decent information in your article. I am impressed with how nicely you described this subject, It is a gainful article for us. Th...

Daniel Hughes

What 1800 Flowers is doing to create a consistent customer communications experience

Read more

Extremely informative. One should definitely go through the blog in order to know different aspects of the Retail Business and retail Tec...

Sheetal Kamble

SAP retail chief: Why more retailers need to harness data differently

Read more

It's actually a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed ...

FIO Homes

How a brand facelift and content strategy turned real estate software, Rockend, around

Read more

I find this very strange. The Coles store i shop in still has Flouro lights? T though this would have been the 1st thing they would have ...

Brad

Coles launches new sustainability initiative

Read more

Blog Posts

9 lessons from 7 months of relentless failure

The most innovative organisations embrace failure. Why? Because it is often through failing the most creative out-of-box thinking happens. And with it comes vital learning opportunities that bring new knowledge and experience into teams.

Jacki James

Digital product lead, Starlight Children's Foundation

Why conflict can be good for your brand

Conflict is essentially a clash. When between two people, it’s just about always a clash of views or opinions. And when it comes to this type of conflict, more than the misaligned views themselves, what we typically hate the most is our physiological response.

Kathy Benson

Chief client officer, Ipsos

Brand storytelling lessons from Singapore’s iconic Fullerton hotel

In early 2020, I had the pleasure of staying at the newly opened Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. It was on this trip I first became aware of the Fullerton’s commitment to brand storytelling.

Gabrielle Dolan

Business storytelling leader

Sign in