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CEB Acquires Indian Talent Analytics Startup Talent Neuron for $15M

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Corporate Executive Board, the U.S.-based member advisory company has acquired Indian talent analytics startup, Talent Neuron, for around $10-$15 million.

This is the third acquisition in the talent management space for CEB, which acquired UK-based SHL in July 2012, and Valtera in February of that year.

Talent Neuron was incubated by Zinnov, a management consulting firm based in Bangalore, two years ago. Since then, the startup has acquired many customers who are paying for big data, analytics solutions focused on talent management and planning. Talent Neuron has its own predictive data model that forecasts talent related trends across important markets in the world. In a recent report, the startup analyzed talent shortage in the Silicon Valley and said for every 100 people moving in, there are at least 120 moving out.

Two of Zinnov’s co-founders — Vijay Swaminathan and Vamsi Tirukkala — leveraged the consulting firm’s existing knowledge and connections to start Talent Neuron. When I contacted Pari Natarajan, one of the Zinnov co-founders and its CEO last week, he declined to talk about any potential deal with CEB. Officials at CEB had not responded to my query on whether a deal is in the making.

Talent Neuron makes a good example of how to incubate an idea using existing knowledge within a company. And while it’s not unusual for companies based in the Silicon Valley to incubate and hive off ideas from within, such events are a rarity in Indian ecosystem.

This is clearly worth learning from, especially for India’s biggest software outsourcing companies who are struggling to identify the next big thing, beyond commoditized software development and maintenance.

Over past few years many talent management and planning platforms have been launched that take advantage of big data analytics to offer customized solutions to customers ranging from Microsoft to even industrial giants such as ABB and General Electric.

Investors are beginning to see opportunity in this space. As we wrote last year, Spire, a big data startup based in Bangalore that helps customers manage current and future talent requirements using a contextual search engine, raised $8 million in Series A.

In fact, Talent Neuron was looking to raise its Series A before the CEB started talking, one of the investors who looked at Talent Neuron told me.