Apple has hired away somewhere between one third and half of the employees of an enterprise consulting startup called Silicon Valley Data Science. Some sleuthing by TechCrunch found that at least 18 people—including two cofounders and the CEO—now list their employer as Apple.
The twist is that Apple hasn’t acquired the company. And buried at the bottom of the story is the idea that one of Apple’s partners may have acquired SVDS, and the employees are joining Apple’s embedded teams at that partner.
While public LinkedIn profiles proclaim their new employers being Apple, no one is actually talking about it. TechCrunch spoke to three employees, and reported the following:
“I’m sworn to secrecy at the moment,” one person connected with the company told me when I contacted him. “I’d prefer not to comment,” another said.
“Everything is confidential,” a third response said. “Apple acquired the tech team to support product dev ambitions. Can’t say more.”
All of which is interesting in an academic sense. Apple has done many acquihires, where it buys a whole company to get the team and/or technology. And, Apple has hired key people away from plenty of companies, including startups, this move would appear to be somewhere in the middle. Apple has effectively gutted the company, and two cofounders went along with it.
SVDS’s website remains up, and no announcements have been made.
There’s been bits and pieces here and there about Apple stepping up its enterprise efforts, and this raid feeds that narrative. SVDS is a data science company that works with enterprise giants to help them make sense of their data.
TechCrunch noted that past projects include: “analyzing Caltrain delays to predict their arrivals; a visual representation of the history of rock-and-roll; and trying to put a figure on the value of data.”
None of which is in Apple’s known wheelhouse, making the whole thing all that much more interesting.