“In the Studio,” Bloomreach’s Ashu Garg Brings Machine Learning to Big Data

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Editor’s Note: Semil Shah is an EIR with Javelin Venture Partners. You can follow him on Twitter at @semil 

“In the Studio” welcomes this week a first-time entrepreneur who, after years of academic research at two of the world’s finest universities, years of industrial research at some of America’s most storied technology companies, and years of applied research at one of Silicon Valley’s tech giants, has finally broken through on his own, co-founding a high-growth company that recently emerged from stealth mode and is considered by many to a be strong contender for an IPO down the road.

Ashu Garg, the CTO and co-founder of Bloomreach, has been studying and applying machine-learning technologies on the web for nearly 15 years. After graduating from IIT-Delhi, immigrating to the U.S., studying gesture-based computer vision in a PhD program, and working at IBM-Almaden and eventually Google — where he focused on search ranking, personalization, and collaborative filtering — Garg had amassed a rare level of expertise at the exact right time when the web underwent massive growth and transformations.

When Garg finished his undergraduate degree, the web was relatively small. That’s obviously not the case anymore, and with new discovery channels in place in the form of social graphs, email, and mobile devices, Garg sees the web now not as a collection of documents, but a set of objects with relationships around them. It is this insight that led Garg and his co-founder Raj De Datta to form their new company, an iterative approach that started with careful market research and customer development as they worked to build their first product.

What’s most interesting to me about Garg’s entrepreneurial story is the depths to which he has studied machine learning technologies, both in universities and technology companies, and has the right experience around dealing with large consumer data sets to be able to actually build and take a product like Bloomreach to market. This video would be of interest to any engineers, investors, and consumer brands interested in learning more about the opportunities in large scale consumer data and creating a better experience through any web channel. (Earlier this year, TechCrunch’s Josh Constine profiled Bloomreach, which you can read here.)

In all the talk about big data powering the next great web and mobile applications for both consumers and enterprise, there simply aren’t many products on the market yet that are ready to scale like Bloomreach may be able to. Garg and his colleagues believe the process of fulfilling search queries will become more seamless, so they’ve built systems that seek to automatically produce better routing based on a host of inputs. While the future is certainly bright for big data applications in a variety of sectors such as enterprise and health, among others, Bloomreach is well-positioned to attack opportunities in the consumer web and link people to brands, retailers, and other people.