London-based Artificial Intelligence Provider Invests in Lithuanian Data Dog
Apr 02

Satalia, a British artificial intelligence and data science company, has fully acquired Data Dog, a Kaunas-based IT company. For several years, both firms have been cooperating to develop business optimisation systems for clients like PwC and Tesco. With the merger, they will expand to developing a product portfolio of their own.

Satalia span out of University College London (UCL) in 2008 and today applies the latest AI technologies to solve optimisation problems for some of the world’s best-known companies. In recent years, and in collaboration with Data Dog, it has developed a leading capability in vehicle routing, workforce optimisation, infrastructure planning, churn analysis and price optimisation – and was recently recognised as one of London’s most exciting AI companies.

Data Dog was founded in 2011 in Kaunas, Lithuania, and has primarily focused on providing web and software development services to both local and global clients.

Data Dog’s 40+ employees will now fully integrate with the Satalia team, creating a total workforce of over 100 people, with expertise in software development, data science and optimisation.

“We started working with Data Dog in 2014 and have since developed a fantastic partnership. Whilst we both continued to serve our individual clients, we also started co-creating data science and optimisation solutions for a selection of large UK clients, including a vehicle routing system for Tesco and a workforce optimisation system for PwC” says Daniel Hulme, the CEO of Satalia.

“Both of these solutions were transformative and proved the value of our joint capability. We decided to formalise our relationship by officially joining forces and we’re excited to say we finalised the deal this month,“ adds Hulme.

Domas Janickas, a co-founder and CEO of Data Dog, says that they found a lot of common ground while working with Satalia. The share very similar values, outlook towards decentralised teams, and independent work.

“We have developed a close business and cultural connection with Satalia over the years. We reinforced their experience in data science and optimisation with our own software development skills, which allowed us to jointly take on larger, end-to-end system development projects. I consider the deal to be a natural unification, and one where our shared vision and attitude towards culture was more of a significant driver than the financial details,” comments Janickas.

Both Hulme and Janickas claim that while many companies across markets are going through the digital transformation, only some of them are applying machine learning or data science to spot patterns or make predictions. Even fewer companies are using optimisation algorithms to leverage those predictions to make data-driven decisions i.e autonomous inventory management. And just a selected few companies are deploying true AI systems, i.e demand models that recognise making a bad decision and self-adapting in real-time without human aid.

Satalia finds that machine learning companies lack capability in optimisation and vice versa, and true AI research appears a world away from the industries that it could benefit. Satalia, having merged with Datadog, has a unique combination of capabilities which, combined with its ongoing AI research, and close ties with top academic institutions, makes it well positioned to develop full-stack AI solutions for its clients – an offering currently absent within industry.

Satalia will continue to serve existing and future clients, and the acquisition of Data Dog will allow them to dedicate more resources to their ongoing AI projects. These projects include developing bespoke solutions for clients and accelerating the development of their AI products including Satalia Delivery, an AI-fueled vehicle routing system; Satalia Workforce, a workforce optimisation system; and the SolveEngine, an optimisation-as-a-service platform.

The company will grow in both locations, with the Lithuanian office looking to bring on Java and Python developers, optimisers, data scientists and quality assurance talent, as well as operational roles in project management, marketing, HR and finance.

In addition to developing AI solutions for its clients, Satalia is pioneering a new operating model for a company. Enabled by internal technology and organisational psychology, Satalia has no managers or hierarchy; teams are self-organising and people are free to work on the projects they want, when, where and how they want to. This unique way of working and distributed model allows Satalia to attract global AI talent and creates an environment where people are motivated, happy and thus more innovative and productive.

In the coming months, Data Dog will change its name to Satalia Lithuania, which will continue to be run by Domas Janickas as a managing director. Data Dog’s other co-founders – Marius Buzaitis, Gytis Koryzna and Mindaugas Žičkevičius – will use a chance to explore other ventures in the technology sector. Satalia did not disclose the financial details of the deal, which was closed this February.

Preliminary data indicates that Data Dog’s earnings in 2018 were €1.5 million or 15% more than a year ago.