Photo: @eugeneiiim and @sqs
We don’t know much about Eugene Marinelli and Quinn Slack, or their new startup, Blend Labs.But we have heard this much: It has just raised $2.5 million from Facebook investor Peter Thiel and venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, according to a source.
It makes total sense, given that Slack and Marinelli are both former software engineers at Palantir, a secretive Thiel-backed company which processes massive amounts of data for corporate clients and government agencies.
We couldn’t find an SEC filing showing the investment, though there are ways for companies that want to stay stealthy to avoid such filings (by, for example, filing with state regulators).
From what we can see, Marinelli and Slack are interested in the following hot areas:
- Big data. They just gave a presentation at Stanford about using technologies like Hadoop, HBase, and Scala to handle huge quantities of information. Or as they put it, “you have a ton of data, need to handle a lot of users, and want to perform heavy computation over the data.”
- The social graph. They posted code to GitHub, an open software repository, for “Facebook social data modelling.” And their Stanford presentation shows an example of handling data about individuals including email addresses and groups they belong to.
- Mobile platforms. Slack has contributed some code to the Play 2.0 platform, which is used for mobile applications.
OK, so that doesn’t give us many clues to what Blend Labs is doing. But big-data applications for social and mobile platforms seems like it hits just about every investing buzzword.
Andreessen Horowitz, Slack, and Marinelli did not respond to emailed inquiries about the investment.