Walmart Suffers Loses Its Innovation and Data Arm

July 4, 2012

Gigaom’s Eliza Kern reported on a significant loss from Walmart’s technology arm in the article “WalmartLabs Loses Kosmix Founders.”

According to the article, after a year of working in WalmartLabs as the innovative and data arm of the retail giant, Kosmix co-founders Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman have announced that they are leaving to “take time off from the industry.”

As a social media startup, after being acquired by the retail giant in 2011, Kosmix’s ability to aggregate social media and information about a particular topic allowed Walmart to analyze large sets of data and predict the buying habits of customers.

When explaining the goal behind WalmartLabs last Novermber, Harinarayan said:

“At Walmart Labs, we’re building a big and fast data group to combine store data with social media data in some meaningful way. For example, a Wal-Mart buyer in Arkansas doesn’t know the optimal time to stock football merchandise in Wisconsin. That buyer can look to the social streams to see when people in that region are tweeting about football or their favorite teams. Monitoring social media can even help Wal-Mart find breakout products.”

It looks like Walmart has some big shoes to fill in its technical line up. Hopefully the next group will stay longer than a year.

Jasmine Ashton, July 4, 2012

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