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“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 12/19/2016

Above the Trend Line: machine learning industry rumor central, is a recurring feature of insideBIGDATA. In this column, we present a variety of short time-critical news items such as people movements, funding news, financial results, industry alignments, rumors and general scuttlebutt floating around the big data, data science and machine learning industries including behind-the-scenes anecdotes and curious buzz. Our intent is to provide our readers a one-stop source of late-breaking news to help keep you abreast of this fast-paced ecosystem. We’re working hard on your behalf with our extensive vendor network to give you all the latest happenings. Heard of something yourself? Tell us! Just e-mail me at: daniel@insidebigdata.com.  Be sure to Tweet Above the Trend Line articles using the hashtag: #abovethetrendline.

As 2016 is winding down, the Big Data industry is still burning on a low flame starting with some new funding news – Conversica, Inc., a leader in artificial intelligence-powered business conversations, announced that it has secured $34 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round. The excitement for the round, one of the largest for any AI company this year, is due to Conversica being the first company to provide an AI platform that is able to engage people in a genuine human conversation – over 180 million such conversations to date. By automating many different types of business conversations that formerly required humans, Conversica’s 1,000 paying customers have become more successful, with many actually hiring more staff members as a result of the increased opportunity driven by the Conversica platform. And while many AI companies have yet to generate revenue, Conversica reports that it will generate $18 million in annual recurring revenue in 2016. Conversica’s Series B round is being led by Providence Strategic Growth (PSG), with participation from Toba Capital, Wellington Financial and Recruit Japan, as well as additional funding from Series A investor Kennet Partners and founder Ben Brigham. In addition, Conversica’s board of directors has expanded to include PSG Director Gopi Vaddi and Toba partner Wilder Ramsey … Databricks, the company founded by the creators of the popular Apache Spark project, announced it has closed $60 million in a Series C funding round led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA). Also participating in this round is existing Databricks investor, Andreessen Horowitz. The new funding round brings Databricks’ total funding to date to $107.5 million. The Series C funding round comes as Databricks deepens its commitment to open source Apache Spark and accelerates investment in its commercial product, the Databricks just-in-time data platform. Contributions from Databricks helped to propel the Spark engine to set world records this year, including the CloudSort benchmark, while Spark meetup members worldwide more than quadrupled in size from 66,000 in 2015 to more than 288,000 in 2016. Spark is the de facto technology for big data analytics and processing today, being the most active open-source project in the big data space with over 1,000 contributors from more than 250 organizations.

We also heard of some people movement news just before year-end starting with – Nimbix, a leading HPC cloud platform provider announced the appointment of Stacy Repult as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Repult brings more than 20 years of experience at both public and private companies in financial management, strategic planning, international expansion and corporate development. Most recently, Repult was Vice President of Finance for Omnitracs where she led the FP&A, tax and treasury departments. Previously, she held the Managing Director position at SLR Consulting Group where she focused on supporting small to mid-market companies through high growth initiatives. In her new role as Chief Financial Officer, Repult will be responsible for overseeing all the corporate financial accounting, HR and financial operations for Nimbix. Specifically, she will be tasked with driving business operating mechanisms to monitor and improve key financial metrics and profitability. Repult will also oversee the annual business and strategic planning processes … BMC Software, a leader in IT solutions for the digital enterprise, announced Peter Leav has joined BMC as President and Chief Executive Officer. Leav succeeds Bob Beauchamp, who continues to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors and will play a key role going forward. Leav joins BMC from Polycom, a $1.2 billion global collaboration business serving the enterprise market, where he served as President and CEO for the last three years. He brings to BMC 20-plus years of strong leadership in operations, general management and sales across technology and services. Leav has a proven track record of building customer relationships and driving growth and innovation while leading global organizations at Polycom, NCR and Motorola.

We learned of some new partnerships, alignments and collaborations starting with Infosys (NYSE: INFY), a leader in consulting, technology, outsourcing and next-generation services, and MongoDB, the database for giant ideas, unveiling details of a global partnership designed to help enterprises accelerate their digital transformation and application modernization initiatives with next generation database solutions. Infosys and MongoDB will help new and existing customers address the key pain points of cost, performance and scalability across legacy applications. As part of the partnership, Infosys will scale the talent base to 1,000 consultants on MongoDB and enhance consulting capabilities based on MongoDB technology. In pursuit of these objectives, the companies have established a joint Innovation Lab in Bangalore, India. The lab houses a dedicated team of trained MongoDB architects. These experts are developing and enhancing tools and best practices to help Infosys customers with their application modernization initiatives. This lab is equipped to handle proof-of-concepts and rapid application prototypes to support customers with their MongoDB requirements … Luciad, a leading provider of geospatial technology that delivers real-time situational awareness, announced a partnership with enterprise social media and cognitive analytics firm Sc2 Corp. Luciad has worked with Sc2 Corp and IBM to produce a Human Terrain Analysis System (HTAS) that monitors social media feeds for signs of potential conflict … Datawatch Corporation (NASDAQ-CM: DWCH) today announced that Hyland, a leading provider of software solutions for managing content, processes and cases, is its newest Technology Alliance Partner. The companies are working closely together to ensure compatibility of Datawatch’s Monarch self-service data preparation solution and OnBase by Hyland, an enterprise information platform … The NYC Data Science Academy (NYCDSA), a leader in data science education, has announced a partnership with CARTO, a leading provider of location intelligence and software, to teach and train future data science students in the field of location analysis. Students will be trained using the latest data science tools — including CARTO’s spatial analysis platform — to visualize, analyze, and draw insights from location data, in addition to in-classroom guest lectures from CARTO data scientists on advanced spatial data techniques and real-world location-specific use cases. The inclusion of location analysis and intelligence is a strategic and innovative approach to provide NYCDSA students with cutting edge techniques in the data science industry.

And in the new products, services and solutions category we learned that Collibra, a leader in data governance software solutions for business users, announced the launch of Collibra University 2.0. Collibra University is a self-paced online learning community dedicated to advancing data literacy among business users and accelerating organizational data governance success. First launched in September 2015, Collibra University has grown to feature more than 100 courses and tutorials that help users tackle the “what and why” of data governance, including specific use cases such as addressing data governance readiness, data quality, data metrics, and more. Collibra University course content is organized to suit a participant’s specific role in the organization and level of data governance expertise. Collibra University also offers vertical-specific learning content for industries such as finance and healthcare … RAVN Systems, leading experts in Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning branches of Artificial intelligence, announced they have commenced initial development of a system that will use the proven RAVN AI (Artificial Intelligence) methodologies and software to assist how lawyers cost their matters by reference to previous similar cases but also taking into account key differentiating factors. This revolution was based on a concept by the renowned legal IT consultant, Neil Cameron. The cost of getting fee estimates wrong can be considerable – in litigation a judge can make the law firm carry the burden of the excess. In relation to other types of matters the value of much of the extra time is often simply written off as it is difficult to recover such fees from the client. This is one of the most significant reasons for reduced matter realisation in law firms, and thus the reduction in overall profit margin. The proposed system, ‘AI Matters’, is designed to use AI techniques to increase the ability to cost matters by reference to previous similar cases. The significant feature of the system is that it will use heuristic algorithms to identify the key factors (‘complexity factors’) that determine, in relation to any particular case type, whether any particular new matter is likely to use more resources and cost more, than other similar cases, or take less time and cost less.

 

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