Tableau acquires startup ClearGraph for natural language processing

The business intelligence firm plans to use ClearGraph's natural language query technology to enable smart data discovery and data analysis.

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ClearGraph founders Andrew Vigneault and Ryan Atallah are joining Tableau.

Business intelligence firm Tableau announced Wednesday it's acquiring ClearGraph, a three-year-old startup that uses natural language processing to search enterprise data. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tableau plans to integrate ClearGraph's technology into Tableau's products, enabling smart data discovery and data analysis. The move comes just a couple months after Tableau introduced its first "smart" features.

"Natural language queries will make it easier for more people to interact with Tableau, whether you're an executive who needs an answer quickly, or on a mobile phone and want an answer from your data on the move," Tableau's chief product officer Francois Ajenstat said in a statement. "We're excited about this acquisition as the ClearGraph team shares our mission and is aligned with our innovation perspectives on conversational analytics."

ClearGraph's unique natural language query technology makes it easy to access and analyze data without any technical training. It stores semantic data in knowledge graphs, which can expand and learn over time. A customer could, for example, ask for "Total sales by customers who purchased staples in New York," then filter the results to, "orders in the last 30 days," then group the results by, "project owner's department."

ClearGraph's five employees will join Tableau in its Palo Alto, Calif. Office and focus on integrating their underlying technology into Tableau products. The Silicon Valley firm was founded in 2014 by Andrew Vigneault and Ryan Atallah. The company received $1.53 million in funding from investors including Accel Partners and Great Oaks Venture Capital.

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