Endeca Pulls in $15 Million from Intel and SAP—Search Firm’s Reliance on Multicore Processing Key to Investment

After Microsoft acquired Norway’s Fast Search & Transfer a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a conversation with a Microsoft exec who told me the company had looked at other enterprise search firms, including local firm Endeca, before choosing Fast. Well, it turns out Endeca is having no trouble attracting the interest of other big West Coast infotech players. The company announced a $10 million investment today from Intel Capital, along with a $5 million investment from SAP Ventures, the investing wing of the German business software giant. That brings total outside investment in the 500-employee company, which was founded in 1999, to more than $60 million.

Endeca’s search products, which are used by hundreds of organizations from Boeing to Dell to the Library of Congress, are built around navigation aids that make it easier to explore information in large databases. Intel Capital’s interest in the company stems from the fact that the database engine that responds to users’ queries is “multithreaded,” meaning its core software code is designed to run in parallel on machines with multicore processors. Multicore processors are, of course, at the center of Intel’s product strategy, so Endeca’s software provides an important use case for Intel.

I asked the Endeca folks to explain the importance of multicore processing at the firm. They sent the following “brain dump,” courtesy of the office of Endeca’s CTO, Adam Ferrari. It’s a mouthful, but surprisingly informative: “The Endeca user experience philosophy is based on the idea of allowing users to explore information, moving fluidly through massive and diversely structured data sets guided by deep analytical views, and arriving at a broad range of ad-hoc discoveries and insights that couldn’t have been anticipated or pre-computed. Endeca’s multithreaded database engine—its index—harnesses multi-core processors to parallelize query evaluation for speed-of-thought response to complex, dynamically evaluated analytics queries, and to deliver linear throughput. Endeca’s R&D team is actively continuing to develop novel parallel query evaluation techniques to further harness multicore computing to enable ever richer interfaces for visualizing and understanding complex information spaces.”

Got that? I was also lucky enough to connect with Endeca CEO Steve Papa by e-mail. He said the company was “very excited” about the funding announcements. “They are further evidence that Endeca is solving a critical business need and [that] these world class organizations believe Endeca’s technology and vision has tremendous potential,” Papa said. “SAP holds some of the most valuable information in many leading organizations around the world. Intel’s vision for multi-core computing promises unparalleled power for processing that information. Investments from these companies improve Endeca’s ability to make the information in the SAP ecosystem more visible and also to harness that multi-core computing power to provide visibility across mountains of disparate information in ways never before possible.”

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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