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Fluree To Extend Data Management Offerings With ZettaLabs Merger

Rick Whiting

Adding ZettaLabs’ data transformation technology to its product portfolio will allow Fluree, which develops a distributed ledger graph database, to provide customers with the ability to work with legacy data.

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Graph database developer Fluree is merging with data transformation software provider ZettaLabs in a move that extends Fluree’s technology offerings to help businesses work with legacy data.

The merger was completed earlier this week and announced Thursday. The merger of the two privately held companies was conducted through an all-equity transaction with ZettaLabs shareholders acquiring a minority stake in Fluree, according to Brian Platz (pictured), Fluree co-founder and CEO, and Eliud Polanco, ZettaLabs co-founder and CEO.

Fluree, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., and ZettaLabs, headquartered in Cedar Falls, N.J., are combining their research and development, sales and other operations for a total of about 50 employees. Platz will continue as Fluree CEO while Polanco will become president, the two said in an interview with CRN.

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Fluree was founded in 2016 and the merger is the company’s first.

“Fluree’s overall mission is to transform enterprises into data-centric organizations,” Platz said. “And this merger really fortifies our products and moves us closer to realizing that vision.”

“We have very complementary technology sets as well as operational models,” Polanco said.

Fluree develops a distributed semantic graph ledger database that provides a blockchain-secured platform for data-centric applications. But most Fluree implementations are new “greenfield” projects, including blockchain and web3 initiatives, and data has been collected and prepared for use by the Fluree platform.

Platz said many potential customers, especially larger businesses, often have siloed legacy data that needs to be transformed before it can be used by the Fluree system – a hurdle for the company’s sales growth.

“One of the challenges we’ve had is that it’s easy to set up your data in the strategic way that Fluree allows you to use it when you’re starting something from scratch,” Platz said. “But we’ve always known and acknowledged that most data that exists in an organization isn’t in these strategic formats. It’s accessed through APIs [from] Salesforce or SAP, relational tables or sources like that.

“And that’s really the short of why this [merger] made so much sense because that’s exactly what ZettaLabs focuses on solving.”

ZettaSense, ZettaLab’s flagship AI/machine learning-powered data transformation software, is used to integrate and prepare raw data from disparate sources for business analytics and other tasks without the need for additional data governance, master data management or data quality tools.

That product is now re-branded as Fluree Sense and will be offered by Fluree as a way to transform, prepare and integrate legacy data for use in the Fluree database.

Use cases for Fluree Sense include legacy data migrations to a target digital platform; integrating customer, account, product and transaction data from multiple sources into a single 360-degree view customer record; customer consent management to control how data is shared across products, regions and business functions; and managing cross-border data residency, according to Fluree.

The data transformation capabilities will also help Fluree customers eliminate legacy data silos, Polanco said. Before it turned into a merger deal, he said, Fluree and ZettaLabs had held discussions about partnering to provide joint customers with data transformation and next-generation database solutions.

Platz said the expanded product line will allow Fluree to expand its offerings to existing customers as well as go after new customers, especially Fortune 500 accounts. “I believe this really opens up the types of opportunities for us to work with more of [customers’] core operational data,” he said.

Fluree has to undertake some development work to integrate the two companies’ technologies and adapt Fluree Sense to the Fluree data format. Polanco, who will oversee product development as part of his president duties, said that integration work should be largely done by the end of the year.

Both Fluree and ZettaLabs work with channel partners including systems integrators and service providers. Fluree launched its Fluree Partner Network in 2020 looking to recruit systems integrators, ISVs and cloud service providers.

Platz said there is some overlap between the systems integration and service partners Fluree and ZettaLabs work with. But the two companies often worked with different practices or business units within those service providers given the two companies’ different products.

Platz said combining the Fluree and ZettaLabs product lines will create new opportunities for partners to offer customers a broader range of technologies and services. Polanco said partners can develop repeatable processes and use-cases around data transformation and analytics.

“Fluree’s merger with ZettaLabs is directly in line with Fluree’s vision to deliver data-centric capabilities to modernize enterprise data abilities,” said Dan Malven, managing director of 4490 Ventures, a Madison, Wis.-based venture capital firm and Fluree’s lead investor. “Enterprises seeking data-centric architectures now not only have a landing place with Fluree’s core ledger graph database technology, but also now a starting point for their legacy infrastructure to onboard their data management into data centricity,” Malven said in a statement.

Rick Whiting

Rick Whiting has been with CRN since 2006 and is currently a feature/special projects editor. Whiting manages a number of CRN’s signature annual editorial projects including Channel Chiefs, Partner Program Guide, Big Data 100, Emerging Vendors, Tech Innovators and Products of the Year. He also covers the Big Data beat for CRN. He can be reached at rwhiting@thechannelcompany.com.

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