Analytic Startups: Skytree

Skytree started out as an academic machine learning project developed at Georgia Tech’s Fastlab.  Leadership shopped the software to a number of software vendors prior to 2011 and, finding no buyers, launched as a standalone venture in 2012.

In April 2013, Skytree announced Series A funding of $18 million, with backing from U.S. Venture Partners, UPS, Javelin Venture Partners and Osage University Partners.   The company has 18 U.S. employees in LinkedIn.

Skytree’s public reference customers include Adconian, Brookfield Residential Property Services, CANFAR, eHarmony, SETI Institute and United States Golf Association.  This customer list did not change in 2013 despite significant investment in marketing and sales.

Skytree has formally partnered with Cloudera, Hortonworks and MapR.

Compared to its peers, Skytree reveals very little about its technology, which is generally a yellow flag.

urlSkytree’s principal product is Skytree Server, a server-based library of distributed algorithms.   Skytree claims to support the following techniques:

  • Support Vector Machines (SVM)
  • Nearest Neighbor
  • K-Means
  • Principal Component Analysis (PCA)
  • Linear Regression
  • Two-Point Correlation
  • Kernal Density Estimation (KDE)
  • Gradient Boosted Trees
  • Random Forests

Skytree does not show images or videos of its user interface anywhere on its website.  The implication is that it lacks a visual interface, and programming is required.  Skytree claims a web services interface as well as interfaces to R, Weka, C++ and Python.

For data sources, Skytree claims the ability to connect to relational databases (presumably through ODBC); Hadoop (presumably HDFS); and to consume data from flat files and “common statistical packages”.

Skytree claims the ability to deploy on commodity Linux servers in local, cluster, cloud or Hadoop configurations.  (Absent YARN support, though, the latter will be a “beside” architecture, with data movement).

A second product, Skytree Advisor, launched in Beta in September.  Skytree Advisor is mostly interesting for what it reveals about Skytree Server.  The product includes some unique capabilities, including the ability to produce an actual report, but the user interface evokes a blue screen of death.   The status of this offering seems to be in doubt, as Skytree no longer promotes it.

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3 comments

  • Thank you for the write up on Skytree Thomas and Happy New Year. I am new to the company, having joined Skytree in December as its VP of Marketing. One of my charter is to update our website based information as some of it is out of date as well as to produce product videos and collateral. In addition to investors you identified, Samsung and In-Q-Tel are also investors in the company. I will be happy to share updated information on our product and customers. The company’s headcount is now at 30+ and we are actively recruiting to fill engineering, marketing and sales positions. Again, thank you for following Skytree.

  • I noticed they updated their customer list, it is comprehensive.

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