Speak Freely to Feature Jerome Pesenti and Audrey Russo

BuiltinPgh presents Speak Freely: Founders’ Spotlight, a monthly series of frank interviews with notable, local entrepreneurs sharing their stories about building a successful startup in Pittsburgh.

March 20, PTC President and CEO Audrey Russo will interview  Vivisimo co-founder, Jerome Pesenti who currently serves as Chief Scientist of Big Data at IBM after the recent acquisition of Vivisimo.

Vivisimo provided enterprises with innovative search solutions, including social search tools that enable collaboration throughout the enterprise, offer application control through easy-to-use interfaces, flexible security management and a modern architecture that enables quick deployment.

Before Vivisimo, Jerome was a visiting scientist at Carnegie Mellon University’s computer science department, carrying out research on document clustering, data mining and artificial intelligence. Jerome is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including Microsoft’s US Public CIO Summit, ICIC 2006 Conference, Life Sciences Conference and ASIDIC. He is an alumnus of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. His academic degrees consist of a B.S. in philosophy from the Sorbonne, an M.S. in cognitive science from the University of Paris IV, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in pure mathematics from the University of Paris-Sud.

Attendance is free, but limited to the first 100 people, visithttp://builtinpgh.com/speak-freely to rsvp.

The interactive format allows for ample Q&A from the audience, so come prepared. Refreshments will be served.

Vivisimo Acquired: My Perspective from Startup to Tech Powerhouse

The sign on Vivisimo's headquarters in Squirrel Hill.

By Jonathan Kersting, jkersting@pghtech.org

The e-mail came across my desk around 9 a.m. Right from Raul. I couldn’t hardly believe my eyes. The subject line read : “IBM announces its intent to acquire Vivisimo.”

Raul Valdes-Perez, Co-Founder and Chairman of Vivisimo, said in the e-mail, “I thought to alert you personally about today’s news. http://www-01.ibm.com/software/data/info/vivisimo/ Thank you for encouraging me to start Vivisimo over coffee on Craig Street in 1999-2000, and for your ongoing support over the years.”

I was shocked and stoked to get the news a little bit before the other media and immediately posted to techburgher.com. I knew this day was coming. I actually thought that it might have come years earlier.

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for both Raul and Vivisimo. As he reminded me in the brief e-mail (that’s Raul’s style) I first met him before the company was actually formed. We met for coffee at the old Kiva Han on Craig Street in Oakland. It was the spring of 2000 if my memory serves correct. Internet search was just starting to gain momentum and Raul was showing me how his technology could make Internet searches easier and more efficient by clustering and categorizing search results. It worked. It worked really well.

Soon after, a company was born. Vivisimo developed its Clusty technology to enable better searches on the Web and it also developed enterprise search technology for large organizations and governments to easily sift through massive and often disparate sources of data.

The company grew at a very controlled rate. One of Pittsburgh’s more quiet startups. It was exciting to visit Vivisimo’s first offices on Beechwood Boulevard. I would ride my bike past the unassuming offices almost every day, having no clue that a company was baking inside. My first visit revealed maybe a dozen people crammed inside. It was a true startup. Hustle and bustle everywhere. The first thing I told Raul was that he needed a sign.

For the TEQ article, I took a picture of the entire team around a Honda Accord with a Vivisimo vanity plate. I had big expectations for this company.

Vivisimo survived the ups and downs of the market by slowly growing. Raul wouldn’t take the immediate and seemingly obvious path of taking on venture capital to grow the company. I kept expecting news of Google gobbling them up.

It never happened. Instead Vivisimo opened offices in the heart of Squirrel Hill to accommodate its staff of 60 or so people. I was stoked at my first tour. Lots of open space, even a roof-top patio! Man, things were popping. A giant sign even graced the side of the building. I got goosebumps. I knew Vivisimo really made it!

The company kept growing, landing massive customers and winning countless awards. I then received more news. Raul was stepping down as CEO and moving to the Chairman of the Board spot. He brought in John Kealey to fill the CEO slot. He knew he needed someone to take the company to the next level. After interviewing John on TechVibe Radio, I knew the company was in good hands. I also knew the game was on to either take the company public or sell it.

I kept tabs on Vivisimo. Despite the wretched economy, the company kept growing. It was only a matter of time and that time has come. Just about 13 years in the making.

It’s really bittersweet for me. I’m so happy to see this success. I hope and pray that Vivisimo’s presence stays and grows in Pittsburgh. I love the churn of our tech sector and I know that more companies will come forth from this. I’m also sad that I won’t be able to watch Vivisimo grow as Vivisimo.

I hope that everyone sees the acquisition of Vivisimo as a plus for the region. I’ve heard plenty of naysayers over the years pout that Pittsburgh only grows companies that will be acquired. Pittsburgh is a place where solid tech companies can grow, generate wealth and move the proverbial needle forward. I don’t care if you are acquired, go public or remain a quiet private company. What matters is the Pittsburgh connection. I predict that more good will come from the acquisition of Vivisimo than we’ll ever know.

Congratulations to Raul and the entire team at Vivisimo. You made me and the entire region very proud!






IBM to Acquire Vivisimo!

IBM announced its intent to acquire Vivisimo, a recognized leader in federated discovery and navigation software for big data. The acquisition aims to accelerate IBM’s efforts to help clients integrate, navigate, and analyze the full variety, velocity and volume of big data.

Vivisimo brings a decade of experience and innovation in data navigation and visualization technologies for both structured and unstructured data, making it easier for business users to get value from all of their data. The unique software expands IBM’s big data platform with new federated data capabilities that can provide a single point of access to disparate data sources, extracting relevant information and providing ad hoc analysis without moving the data.

Get more details here.

TechVibe Radio to Feature Vivisimo’s Raul Valdes Perez

Be sure to tune in to TechVibe Radio this Saturday at noon on FM News Talk 104.7.

Vivisimo Co-Founder and Board Chair Raul Valdes Perez will stop by to talk about Duquesne’s upcoming Entrepreneur’s Growth Conference. He’s a the keynote speaker and will be talking about the importnace of entrepreneurs asking for advice. It made all of the difference for him.

Also, John Mahood from ImageBox will tell you how he’s growing his interactive company.

Hosted by the PTC’s CEO Audrey Russo and Director Visibility Initiatives Jonathan Kersting, TechVibe is on the air every Saturday at noon bringing you interviews and conversations from the Pittsburgh region’s fast-moving technology and entrepreneurial communities.

Stream TechVibe Radio on www.wpgb.com or iHeart Radio.
Missed a previous broadcast? We have a massive library of podcasts right here.

TechVibe Radio is sponsored by EyeFlow, The Hartford, Pittsburgh International Airport and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

Vivisimo Wins Customer “Interaction Solutions Magazine’s” 2011 Product of the Year Award

Vivisimo, Inc. announced that TMC, a global, integrated media company, has named Customer eXperience Optimization (CXO) as a Customer Interaction Solutions 2011 Product of the Year Award. Customer Interaction Solutions magazine is the leading publication covering CRM, call centers and teleservices since 1982.

“Receiving the Product of the Year award from Customer Interaction Solutions is a testament to how CXO is successfully helping organizations and their customer-facing professionals tackle the overwhelming problems that come with organizing Big Data,” said Tracey Mustacchio, Chief Marketing Officer at Vivisimo. “Data is being created and stored at a rate faster than ever before and organizations need solutions to effectively and quickly sift through the large amounts of data. CXO gives customer-facing professionals a single view solution to quickly find and utilize information to most effectively service customers.”