India: Infosys Ltd has invested an undisclosed amount to pick up a stake in TidalScale, a California-based start-up founded by Infosys chief executive Vishal Sikka’s former SAP colleague Ike Nassi.
TidalScale creates computing architecture for customers trying to solve large computing problems. This is Bengaluru-based Infosys’s 10th investment in a start-up from its $500 million innovation fund, though only the third this calendar year, even as the pace of investments in startups and buyouts has considerably slowed down.
Homegrown IT firms, including Infosys and Wipro Ltd, are tapping start-ups in an effort to get products based on new technologies faster to the market and serve the emerging needs of their customers.
“As a pioneer of SoftwareDefined Servers, TidalScale provides solutions that are extraordinarily simple to use, requiring absolutely no changes to existing operating systems, databases, or applications,” said Ritika Suri, executive vice-president of corporate development and ventures at Infosys.
“Among our client base, we see a need for inventive and cost-effective approaches to derive business value from big data, and our investment in TidalScale underscores our commitment to our clients to bring innovative new solutions across our platforms and offerings.”
Nassi was chief scientist at SAP and is credited with having started its Global Business Incubator when Sikka was the chief technology officer at the German software firm. In addition to being the chairman at TidalScale, Nassi is also on the board of advisors of the non-profit Viewpoints Research Institute, run by Alan Kay, Sikka’s friend and mentor. Nassi quit SAP in October 2011.
Infosys has surprisingly shied away from buyouts over the last year, despite spending $390 million to buy three firms in the first year of Sikka’s tenure. Since Sikka set aside $500 million to invest in start-ups at the beginning of last year. It has spent more than $33 million on investments in nine start-ups and buying a stake in a venture capital firm.
Last year Infosys spent more than $200 million to buy Panaya Inc., an automation firm in which Sikka’s mentor and SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner was an investor.
Besides its investment in two cloud-computing start-ups, Infosys’s Innovation fund has also picked up minority investments in two data-analytics start-ups, including Trifacta and Waterline Data Science Inc.
Infosys bought three firms in 2015, spending $390 million to purchase Panaya, digital commerce firm Skava and Noah Consulting Llc.
Infosys’s cross-city rival, Wipro, has spent over $22 million (of a $100 million fund) in picking up minority stakes in seven start-ups and a venture fund, and $1.13 billion to buy four companies—Apprio Inc., a US-based cloud services firm, Denmark-based design firm Designit, German technology company Cellent and US-based technology firm HealthPlan Services.