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January 24, 2023

McKinsey Joins the Crowded Realm of MLOps with Acquisition of Iguazio

Global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company announced it has acquired Iguazio, the Israel-based vendor of an enterprise MLOps platform. Exact financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, but one report estimates the figure to be $50 million.

MLOps is the discipline of deploying and monitoring machine learning models, and its purpose is to streamline the development, testing, and deployment of ML models in production. Optimizing model production is a sought-after service due to the current demand for AI capabilities. McKinsey research revealed that more than $490 billion was invested in AI worldwide from 2012 to 2021, but only 10 percent of AI projects actually make it to production.

McKinsey aims to address this disparity for its customers with the addition of Iguazio’s team of 70 data scientists. According to a statement from McKinsey, its QuantumBlack group has been working to solve these challenges and embed AI into real-time decision making: “The final element we have been working on is a technology solution that will accelerate AI deployment, embedding it in real-time and in any environment,” the statement said.

“After analyzing more than 1000 AI companies worldwide, Iguazio was identified as the best fit to help us significantly accelerate our AI offering – from the initial concept to production, in a simplified, scalable and automated manner,” said Ben Ellencweig, McKinsey senior partner and QuantumBlack global leader of alliances and acquisitions. “By joining forces with Iguazio, we can now deepen the unparalleled, disruptive, end-to-end AI capabilities we offer to our clients.”

McKinsey says QuantumBlack will now be able to provide clients with industry-specific AI solutions that are five times more productive, eight times faster from proof-of-concept to production, and twice as reliable.

“McKinsey’s experience and QuantumBlack’s technology stack and expertise, now coupled with Iguazio, is the ultimate solution for enterprises looking to scale AI initiatives in a way that directly impacts their bottom line,” said Asaf Somekh, co-founder and CEO of Iguazio. “We’re thrilled to join the McKinsey family and embark on this next chapter for Iguazio.”

Iguazio was founded in 2014 by Asaf Somekh, Yaron Haviv, Orit Nissan-Messing, and Yaron Segev, all of whom were tech veterans from Mellanox (acquired by IBM) and ExtremeIO (acquired by EMC). The co-founders were motivated by the idea of merging big data processing techniques with emerging storage and containerization technologies, and the company made a name for itself as the “anti-Hadoop,” aiming to reimagine the data stack with a more streamlined approach.

In a statement from Iguazio, Somekh notes the company was driven to build and expand its Iguazio MLOps Platform to address the gap between what he calls the great potential of AI and its actual business impact. The platform has features and functionality meant to automate, accelerate, and simplify the data science process, and Somekh’s statement mentions previous success stories including a 12X acceleration of the data science process, 50% reduction in cost and 90% reduction in code.

The global MLOps market is expected to reach $4 billion by 2025 and the sector is filled with competitors including startups Comet, Galileo, and Diveplane. Iguazio previously raised $72 million in venture capital from INCapital Ventures, Pitango VC, Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), and Magma Venture Partners.

As Iguazio is McKinsey’s first acquisition in Israel, the company plans to use Iguazio’s current location as the foundation for a new QuantumBlack location as part of a goal to serve clients globally.

Iguazio founders, from left: Yaron Haviv, CTO; Yaron Segev, COO; Orit Nissan-Messing, VP architecture; Asaf Somekh, CEO (Photo by Yanai Yechiel. Source: McKinsey).

“We are committed to unlocking the full potential of AI to help clients drive sustainable, inclusive growth. Today, as 90 percent of AI projects remain in the lab, there is a big opportunity,” said Alexander Sukharevsky, senior partner and global co-leader of QuantumBlack. “By combining Iguazio and QuantumBlack, we have now deepened the end-to-end offering that will allow us to embed AI in every important step of decision making in real time.”

Alex Singla, senior partner and global co-leader of QuantumBlack, added, “By combining our people, technology, data assets, and domain expertise, we are able to dramatically speed up, scale, and productionize AI implementations, staying at the cutting edge of technology while maintaining reliability and scalability.”

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