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Databricks acquires team behind data notebook Einblick

The data lakehouse provider Databricks isn’t slowing down on its shopping spree: the company today announced it has acquired the team behind Einblick, a provider of a natural language data science notebook that purports to allow enterprise users to “solve any data problem with just one sentence.”

It’s the fourth in a flurry of acquisitions from Databricks over the last 12 months, including data replicator Arcion for $100 million back in autumn 2023, Mosiac ML before that in a whopping $1.3 billion dollar deal, and data governance platform Okera before that, for an undisclosed sum.

Like the latter acquisition, today’s news also comes with no stated price tag. But clearly, the move is designed to further augment and built out Databricks’ offering to enterprises as being the one-stop-shop for all their data storage and analysis needs, and to better compete with rival Snowflake, which has also been on an acquisition tear.

“The Einblick team has pioneered state-of-the-art techniques for translating natural language questions into the code, charts and models needed to generate insights,” wrote Databricks execs Ali Ghodsi, Ted Tomlinson, Patrick Wendell, Prem Prakash and Cassie Miao in a company blog post announcing the acquisition. “This not only requires applying the latest generative modeling capabilities but also highly optimizing them for the data-related questions.”

What Einblick is and what it offers

Einblick was founded back in 2019 by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Brown University.

Over the past four years, it has developed and released an AI-native platform that simplifies complex data problems into straightforward natural language queries.

The essence of Einblick’s innovation lies in its approach to data analysis. By integrating AI directly into the authoring surface, the platform enables users to effortlessly convert their thoughts into comprehensive data workflows.

Basically, a user can ask Einblick’s AI assistant, Einblick Prompt, a question — or provide it with an instruction, say “plot a heat map of log ratings count vs. log views count,” and it will automatically figure out the best way to do that using all the relevant data the enterprise has provided to it.

It leverages a sophisticated multi-step architecture that processes raw user input, enriches it with contextual information, and translates it into actionable insights using SQL, Python, and higher-level logical operators.

On its website, Einblick notes users can “connect data from anywhere,” including Microsoft Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, or from rival Snowflake itself, and allow the Einblick Prompt engine to tap into it.

Einblick also offers a free web tool for generating charts called ChartGen AI, where users can simply upload a CSV, Excel, or JSON file, or Google Sheet; describe the chart they wish to make; and the program will take care of the rest.

Why Databricks bought Einblick

Databricks, a leader in data and AI, recognizes the transformative potential of Einblick’s technology and embedding it into its existing Data Intelligence Platform platform, forged from the fires of its acquisition of MosaicML last year.

The goal is to understand general language, yes, but also to decode the jargon and semantic nuances specific to each company.

As Einblick founder and CEO Emanuel Zgraggen stated in a blog post: “When we founded Einblick, our goal was to empower companies to do more with data, by creating the easiest and most collaborative data platform.”

This ethos meshes well with Databricks’ mission to simplify and democratize data and AI, moving toward the goal of a future where data insights are within the reach of every user, irrespective of their technical expertise.

In addition, according to Fortune’s Term Sheet blog, which broke the news, Databricks founder and CEO Ali Ghodsi and Einblick co-founder Tim Kraska attended university together in Berkeley.

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