Michael Dell thinks data is the next trillion-dollar industry. Or so he told The Telegraph’s Sophie Curtis, who interviewed him at the Web Summit in Dublin last month.

“If you look at companies today, most of them are not very good at using the data they have to make better decisions in real time. I think this is where the next trillion dollars comes from for our customers and for our industry,” said the founder of the tech company that bears his name.

And Dell isn’t just talking. His company’s $67 billion takeover bid for EMC became real late last week. EMC’s “go shop” period is now over.

Though the deal isn’t expected to close until sometime between May and October of 2016, Dell has already been spending time with folks from VMware and EMC’s RSA division.

Of course Dell isn’t alone in thinking that data is where the future lies. Companies like DataScience, Palantir, Platfora and Tableau also hit the headlines last week.

DataScience Gets $22M

Companies can get so lost in their data, studying bar charts and playing with visualizations, that they miss the prime opportunity for taking action.

DataScience aims to change that. Its mission is to help companies spend less time analyzing and more time acting on insights.

The Los Angeles-based start-up received its first round of funding last week. “Whether you have a question or not, we are continually uncovering information that will help you make the right decisions,” the company boasts on its website.

Palantir Gets $129M

Who knew the CIA had a venture capital fund? The founders of analytics firm Palantir sure did. The VC firm, In-Q-Tel, invested $2 million in the company 10 years ago to help get it off the ground.

It’s easy to understand the interest: Palantir’s technology helps uncover patterns in data. It’s so good at it that — rumor has it — that its tech was used to help figure out the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

Now Palo Alto, Calif.-based Palantir, which sells its technology to everyone ranging from the US government to investment banks like Morgan Stanley to Hershey’s Chocolate, raised $129 million in new funding last week.

The company closed a $450 million round in July and another $105 million in October.

And was already valued at an eye-popping $20 billion last June, even before those latest rounds of funding.

The CIA formed In-Q-Tel in 1999 as a private, not-for-profit venture capital firm with the specific task of delivering technology to America’s intelligence community.

Platfora Gets $30M

Try telling Platfora founder Ben Werther that more than half of a dozen vendors offer the same kind of big data analytics services as his company and you might get a lecture about an iceberg.

Huh? It seems that some analytics vendors who provide solutions around big data analyze the tip of the top of the iceberg and not the whole mass. Platfora goes for the big stuff, a petabyte or more of data.

The five-year-old startup got another $30 million last week to further its data discovery work.

Tableau Gets an iPhone App + More

iphone app

It might be an understatement to call Tableau users enthusiasts.

“They are almost like a cult,” (like the kind of folks who used to line-up outside Apple stores when new products came out) a prominent industry analyst told me. We, coincidentally, ended up sitting side-by-side at the McCarran Airport in Las Vegas waiting for our planes to carry us home after Tableau’s user conference.

Seeing your data in pictures not only helps you understand things more clearly and make better decisions, but it’s also fun. Last week Tableau unveiled its first iPhone app, now you can access and work with your data and vizzes on-the-go.

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