Databricks Invests €100 million in Amsterdam
Databricks joined the ADS community as a Bronze Partner in May 2019, having launched in Europe nearly three years ago due to its collaboration with CWI, an ADS Gold Partner. It is expected to grow to 300 employees in Amsterdam within the next 3 years. The company’s European Development Center is an engineering hub for development and innovation of their Unified Data Analytics Platform.
Peter Boncz, senior researcher at CWI’s Database Architectures group, has lead the CWI-Databricks partnership from the start and welcomes the investment: “Databricks decided to invest in Amsterdam thanks to its research collaboration with CWI. This is part of our effort with ADS to make Amsterdam a hot-spot of high-tech Data Science companies. It is great that our MSc and PhD students studying Data Systems and AI can now find cool jobs in Amsterdam. This reduces the pressure of only looking in places like Zurich and Silicon Valley. Creating such an ecosystem is exactly the ADS mission.”
ADS director, Lynda Hardman: “I am delighted that this collaboration has been able to attract an investment of this magnitude to the region. This reinforces our vision of Amsterdam as a dynamic ecosystem for high-end data science research and innovation. We look forward to working together to continue to stimulate collaboration among academic and industrial partners in the region.”
Pieter Senster, engineering director and site lead for Databricks’ Amsterdam office, said of the investment: “Amsterdam has proven to be a great way for us to extend our global engineering team. We’ve hired talent from all over the world, but also have formed strong local partnerships such as with CWI, ADS and Dutch universities.”
Check out Peter Boncz’s interview with Bi-Platform where he talks about the CWI-Databricks collaboration and how the ADS network has helped to foster a strong Data Science and AI ecosystem in Amsterdam.
Watch Patrick Wendell, Co-Founder and VP Engineer of Databricks talk about the CWI-Databricks collaboration and establishing the Databricks Amsterdam office. Patrick explains they already knew about the Database Architectures Group at CWI through the MonetDB project and their VectorWise research.
The investment also hit headlines, with Het Parool interviewing Peter Boncz and Pieter Senster.
Databricks is a spin-off company from Berkeley University, based around the world’s most popular data science framework called Spark. Databricks offers Spark as a service in the cloud. It has a rapidly growing amount of enterprise customers, who use notebooks with Python on Spark for Data Science and AI workloads.
The growing customer success is reflected by the rapidly increasing valuation of the company. In February 2018 it raised $250 million at a valuation of $2.7 billion. At the end of October, Databricks announced another investment round of $400 million, which puts its valuation at $6.2 billion.
The Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) and Data Science Center (DSC) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) are joining forces in a new joint fellowship for (teams of) researchers interested in exploring the intersection of data science and other disciplines. The first fellow of the new program, Dr. Davide Ceolin, will start his fellowship at the IAS on June 17. Ceolin is currently affiliated with CWI.
Nanda Piersma, lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences (AUAS), has been appointed as a crown member of the Social and Economic Counsil (SER). This is the first time that a lecturer has been appointed as member of the SER. Nanda Piersma was approached because of her expertise in the field of digitisation.