Apache Zeppelin secures US$ 4.1 million Series A funding round led by Vertex Ventures

Apache Zeppelin secures US$ 4.1 million Series A funding round led by Vertex Ventures

ZEPL, an enterprise analytics company, has closed a US$ 4.1 million Series A funding round, led by Singapore-based Vertex Ventures. The round also saw participation from other investors which included Translink Capital, Specialized Types, and Big Basin Capital.

This funding round also debuted with a fresh new brand – ZEPL, similarly founded by the creators of Apache Zeppelin to replace the formerly known NFLabs.

“Our new brand identity, ZEPL – Zeppelin RELP – reflects our mission to provide an interface for modern day analytics workflow,” said Sejun Ra, the co-founder and CEO of ZEPL.

“For decades, enterprise analytics has been mired in silos – data silos, skill silos, team silos – that regardless of computational power, hindered speed and efficiency of analytics,” Sejun explains.

He continues, saying that “And though recent advances in Hadoop, Spark and other compute frameworks, alleviate some of the data silos issues, the myriad of choices further compounds the skill and team silos.”

In this case, Apache Zeppelin attempts to break down those walls providing a pluggable and open-source solution that enables data engineers, data scientists, and business analysts to use and share the same interface to source, process and analyse various data types.

Besides, using its JDBC Interpreter, Apache Zeppelin supports a majority of the modern day frameworks, from Spark, Cassandra, MongoDB, Elastic Search as well as standard relational databases such as Oracle and MySQL.

The data product is also integrated and available with various services such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Dataproc, as well as most of the major Haddop distributions.

“We have been watching the organic growth of Zeppelin for some time, and are incredibly impressed with the demand and adoption of the technology, by everyone from small teams to the largest Fortune 100 companies,” said In Sik Rhee, the General Partner of Vertex Ventures that will be joining ZEPL’s company board.

Vertex Ventures is a network of funds that invest in and guides technology companies to an exit event, with Singapore’s state investment fund Temasek Holdings as a primary limited partner (LP).

“Enterprises have been clamoring for a way to seamlessly apply analytics across their organization. The team at ZEPL has a clear vision to drastically change the way companies leverage analytics to further their business goals, and we are pleased to support them as they expand Zeppelin’s reach,” In Sik Rhee adds.

With this new funding, ZEPL looks forward to expanding the Apache Zeppelin experience to enable the delivery of a single platform for end-to-end data analytics workflow.

According to ZEPL, Apache Zeppelin is fast becoming the standard big data visualization interface to explore and conduct deep data analysis. It also sees a significant adoption by corporate across different industry verticals, ranging from finance to high technology enterprises.

“Our mission is to transform the way people engage with data, and make big data analytics accessible and easy to use by anyone within an organization,” said Moon Soo Lee, creator of Apache Zeppelin and co-founder and CTO of ZEPL. “By building on top of Apache Zeppelin’s extensible, pluggable, open interface, we believe we can tear down the walls that currently limit how organizations leverage and communicate analytics.”

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Malaysian YouthsToday gets US$33,719 grant at Korean startup competition

Malaysian YouthsToday gets US$33,719 grant at Korean Startup Competition

Malaysian startup YouthsToday.com has received MYR 150,000 (about US$ 33,719) in forms of grants and investement at the K-Statup Grand Challenge, an acceleration program initiated by the Korean government for foreign startups.

One of the biggest success stories was the Malaysian startup, YouthsToday.com which is a platform that connects students to corporate sponsors for events. It is also a portfolio company of the venture capital firm, Gobi Partners.

“We could not be happier to make it through to the final phase of the programme,” said YouthsToday Chief Executive Officer, Jazz Tan. “What is next for us, in a word is expansion. We are hoping to bring more South Korean team members on board and continue networking and reaching out to Korean universities and students.”

The startup has now established in 20 Korean university campuses and is valued at more than US$ 1 million as it serves tens of thousands of university students.

YouthsToday is among the top 20 startups, selected from a pool of 2,400 companies that have also applied for the Korean government’s programme. Others include Fingertips Lab, Prekesh, Traversal and Imagga which occupy the top 4 positions in the Korean startup challenge.

Overall, the top 20 teams originated from 10 different countries and represent industries ranging from custom cosmetics and advance online security to biotech and Internet of Things (IoT).

“These startups will receive the support they need to continue their time in Korea, with free office space for another six months, approximately US$ 30,000 each in additional to government grants, and further investments from VCs and other investors,” YouthsToday said.

These benefits follow suit the advantages received by the teams during their initial acceleration period, which included a contribution of monthly stipends at roughly US$ 4,100 for living expenses, office space, as well as mentorship from major Korean tech companies.

“This was our first acceleration programme bringing international startups to Korea and it’s been an incredible success from start to finish,” said Director from the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Dr. Chang-Yong Ahn.

Having launched this year, K-Startup Grand Challenge is the first international acceleration programme by the South Korean government. The government’s intent with the programme was to increase diversity in the South Korean startup ecosystem.

“We need more diversity in South Korean startups, and the K-Startup Grand Challenge proves that international startups can succeed in South Korea if they have the right support,” said Shift director Juno Kwon, one of the four South Korea-based accelerators that took charge of mentoring the startups in the programme.

Among local accelerators involved in the programme were Shift, SparkLabs, DEV Korea and ActnerLab. Each took charge of 10 startups, providing professional mentoring, networking and other support.

Commenting on the event, DEV Korea CEO Rock Oh also said, “I truly believe that South Korea will become an international startup hub, especially with government support, directed through smart programmes like the K-Startup Grand Challenge.”

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media