Salesforce snaps up marketing virtual assistant firm MinHash

Salesforce has acquired a young startup dedicated to using artificial intelligence to source the latest trends for marketers.

Salesforce has acquired MinHash, a startup which leverages artificial intelligence to help marketers put together successful ad campaigns.

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First reported by TechCrunch this week, the acquisition has now been confirmed by Salesforce and the MinHash team.

Based on Palo Alto, California, MinHash was founded by technologists and data scientists with credentials and experience based on previous roles with eBay, Oracle and Stanford.

The company is the creator of AILA, a virtual assistant equipped with limited artificial intelligence able to plough the Internet for fast growing and popular topics across media sources before analyzing this data and pulling together patterns.

AILA is able to pull together data from sources including text, images, hashtags and URLs, before "automatically crafting them into a campaign with a relevant theme, unique messaging and the right audience."

The company's virtual assistant is currently focused on fashion, but this is unlikely to matter to Salesforce, as the technology could be tweaked for a wide variety of applications.

By acquiring the company, Salesforce is securing a number of data science specialists, which could end up working on the firm's Sales cloud platform, which is designed to increase sales leads and generation for clients.

If marketers can take advantage of popular trends for their campaigns via AILA, this technology could also be leveraged to boost the Salesforce platform's effectiveness.

In a statement posted on the MinHash website, the team said the company will continue to "pursue [their] passion for search, data science and machine learning on a much broader scale." As a result of the acquisition, of which financial details have not been disclosed, the MinHash platform will be closed down on January 21, 2016.

It is not yet known what the MinHash team will be working on as part of the Salesforce fold.

Earlier this month, Salesforce repackaged its Lightning Connect service into simply Salesforce Connect, complete with new features making the access and transfer of data from legacy systems less of a headache.

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