“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 4/23/2018

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Above the Trend Line: your industry rumor central is a recurring feature of insideBIGDATA. In this column, we present a variety of short time-critical news items grouped by category 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 you a one-stop source of late-breaking news to help you keep 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.

I just got back from a little R&R at one of my favorite destinations in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, PDX to the locals, or just Portland, Oregon to the rest of us. I needed the rest as all the conferences and a hyperactive vendor ecosystem are keeping us pretty busy. Last week was FICO World 2018 in Miami (FICO pioneered their industry with AI for fraud detection), Pure Storage’s annual conference, Pure//Accelerate is next month on May 22-24 in San Francisco, and the venerable DataWorks Summit 2018 in Silicon Valley is coming up quickly on June 21-24. We love all the action!

But let’s get on with the rumor mill starting with new funding news … Scality, a leader in software for distributed file and object storage and multi-cloud data control, announced that it closed an additional $60 million round of funding to continue executing on its technology innovation strategy as it makes multi-cloud real for its customers … Keatext a pioneer in AI solutions for business applications since 2010, announced that it has secured funding of $1.72 million Canadian dollars to support the company’s commercial expansion. This new infusion of funds brings Keatext’s financing to a total of CA$3.32 million since the commercial launch of its platform two years ago. Keatext received the funding extension from an investor group led by Anges Québec Capital, with Canadian funds Desjardins Capital, BDC Capital (Business Development Bank of Canada) and Real Ventures, who join existing investor 500 Startups. Keatext’s platform is trusted by companies and organizations to interpret the naturally expressed opinions of clients, both solicited — such as open survey questions — and unsolicited, including online reviews and social media posts. This information helps them maximize responsiveness by revealing customer- and employee-satisfaction blind spots and uncovering new understanding, as well as confirming hypotheses … InsightFinder Inc., an intelligent analytical engine provider for cloud computing, has successfully raised US$2M pre-series A funding led by Eight Roads Ventures. The Propel(x) Network also participated in the funding. Proceeds will be used to expand sales, marketing, and customer support teams. InsightFinder is a New York-based start-up with additional offices in Raleigh, North Carolina and Shanghai, China. The company provides a unique and patent-pending anomaly prediction technology based on unsupervised machine learning algorithm. The analytical engine is able to predict both known and unknown anomalies ahead of time, so that IT personnel can take actions to prevent or minimize the impact of IT problems.

In new M&A activity, we learned that … HCL Technologies (HCL) and Sumeru Equity Partners (SEP), a technology and growth-focused private equity firm, have signed a definitive agreement to acquire Actian Corporation. The all-cash deal is valued at US$330 million. HCL will own 80 percent while SEP will own approximately 20 percent stake of the JV entity which in turn will own 100% shareholding of Actian Corporation. Palo Alto-based Actian–a leader in hybrid data management, cloud integration, and analytics solutions–powers insight-driven enterprises around the globe to help them solve the toughest data challenges. It owns market-leading products such as Actian Vector, the fast columnar database; Actian DataConnect, a hybrid cloud data integration platform; and Actian X, hybrid database for next generation operational analytics. This acquisition will add cutting-edge intellectual property to HCL’s capabilities to enable global enterprises’ digital transformation journey … Findyr, the global platform for crowdsourcing of hyper local, street-level data and insights has announced its merger with Leviathan, the big data analytics platform specializing in analysis of cloud ingested big data with leading machine learning models. The merger, which will continue to operate as Findyr, is seeking to solve some of the biggest location-based challenges being faced across the globe by the private and public sectors.

In the customer wins category, we heard … Redis Labs, the home of Redis and provider of Redis Enterprise, announced that Whitepages, Inc. has chosen Redis Enterprise as the primary database driving its flagship digital identity verification product. Redis Labs’ breakthrough approach of extending Redis from RAM to Flash SSDs, with built-in intelligent data tiering, drastically reduces Whitepages’ operational costs without sacrificing performance. By leveraging Redis on Flash, Whitepages uses a fraction of the RAM storage previously used, saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars in infrastructure investment each year … Piedmont Healthcare is a non-profit healthcare provider spanning 8 hospitals and 1,674 beds. Over the past 12 months, Piedmont cared for over 2 million patients and it has plans to expand its reach even further by adding three more hospitals. The healthcare provider had lofty goals to protect patients from further harm while they were in its hospitals and to reduce the recurring rate of infections to as close to 0 per cent as possible. By choosing Exasol’s in-memory analytic database to help harness its data, Piedmont staff are now empowered to deliver a better service, which has led to an increase productivity and a happier working environment. When the business intelligence team needs answers, it can get them in near-real time … YapStone, provider of online and mobile payment solutions for global marketplaces, has selected Couchbase, Inc, to accelerate the growth of its multi-billion dollar payments platform for global shared economies and marketplaces. The cloud-native Couchbase Data Platform will enable YapStone to easily organize large amounts of data with varied formats that change over time … C3 IoT announced a multi-year agreement with 3M (NYSE:MMM) to provide the C3 IoT AI and IoT software platform to support 3M’s digital transformation. 3M will use the C3 IoT Platform to develop and deploy AI-based applications – starting with predictive healthcare and supply chain analytics and expanding to additional lines of business globally – to enable 3M to better serve customers with even more agility and efficiency. C3 IoT was selected as 3M’s Digital Connected Products platform partner after a rigorous evaluation process that reviewed more than 350 platforms and ultimately validated the maturity, scalability, and extensibility of C3 IoT’s platform as a service (PaaS) and the unique business value of the C3 Type System, the model-driven architecture at the core of the C3 IoT Platform.

We also learned of a number of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations starting with … Agorai, the integrated marketplaces for Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and the data assets that fuel them, and DADI, a global decentralized cloud services platform built using blockchain technology, have announced a partnership that will enable Agorai’s mission of putting AI in the hands of those who need it. Under the agreement, DADI will integrate its decentralized cloud services platform with Agorai’s AI and Data Marketplaces, providing a secure and cost-effective alternative via which to distribute and store Agorai content … Esri, a leader in spatial analytics, announced that it has entered into a collaborative agreement with Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of the Alibaba Group. The agreement will enable both organizations to deliver enhanced options to customers seeking to implement their Esri technology on Alibaba Cloud. Esri President and Founder, Jack Dangermond, described the agreement as both a recognition of successful implementations and a shared belief that location intelligence in cloud infrastructure was pivotal to addressing customers’ needs and solving real-world problems – especially those that need scalable computing, storage, and networking capabilities … C3 IoT and Microsoft Corp. announced a strategic partnership to deliver new technology developments and go-to-market initiatives that accelerate enterprise AI and IoT application development. As part of this partnership, the companies will create a “better together” solution, comprising the C3 IoT Platform™, a low-code, high-productivity PaaS for scaling AI and IoT across enterprises, fully integrated to operate on Microsoft Azure. C3 IoT will leverage Microsoft Azure as a preferred cloud platform and tap into the power of its intelligent capabilities. The companies will conduct co-marketing and co-selling strategies that rapidly scale distribution globally, as well as intensive training for dedicated teams to speed customers’ time to value. Close collaboration between Microsoft and C3 IoT will help enable customers to more rapidly develop and deploy AI-based applications for transformative use cases, such as AI predictive maintenance, dynamic inventory optimization, precision healthcare, and CRM.

In people movement news we heard … Cloudian, an innovation leader in enterprise object storage systems, announced the appointment of Michael Morgan as chief financial officer (CFO). Morgan, who has a successful track record of transforming private companies to well-managed publicly traded firms, will oversee finance, legal, human resources and operations at Cloudian. Morgan represents the latest addition to Cloudian’s fast-growing team as the company enters a fourth year of record growth. In the last 12 months, Cloudian grew bookings from repeat customers five-fold, doubled its customer base to more than 200 customers, and increased funding through a $125 million joint venture with private equity firm Digital Alpha … ArangoDB, a leading native multi-model database, announced the appointment of Ted Dunning to its advisory board. He will join Florian Leibert (CEO and Co-Founder of Mesosphere). Dunning succeeds Luca Olivari, who is now President of the company. ArangoDB has recently seen significant growth, resulting in increased community reach and new enterprise clients such as Barclays, Thomson Reuters and Kabbage. Organizations are adopting the native multi-model database system to simplify their ability to efficiently interact with different data structures by using just one technology. The strengthening of the advisory board emphasizes the forward momentum of ArangoDB and its greater influence within the database community … Violin® Systems LLC, the enterprise storage industry leader for extreme performance with advanced data services, announced that Mark Lewis, a well-known industry veteran of enterprise storage and software, joins the company as executive chairman. Lewis will also be executing the day-to-day duties of CEO while current Violin CEO and president Ebrahim Abbasi is out on medical leave.

In observance of IoT Day, Monday April 9,  we received a comment from Neil Barton, CTO at WhereScape:

The Internet of Things (IoT) has become pervasive today, with Gartner research predicting that there will be 20 billion IoT devices by 2020. The sheer volume of data that is being generated and consumed as a result of IoT can be overwhelming without the infrastructure in place to manage it. As companies struggle to ingest all this information, they turn to technologies, such as automation software for data streaming, in order to design and develop the processing infrastructure in a reliable and rapid fashion. This real-time data processing enables companies to gain immediate insight into their business and opens opportunities for cost savings, operational improvements and revenue growth.”

And finally, with respect to France’s President Emmanuel Macron announcing his nation’s plans to fund an initiative to become a global AI hub to compete with the US and China, we heard from Max Versace, CEO of Neurala, a Boston-based leader in deep learning neural networks:

Aside from U.S. investors, it is probably not a coincidence that Neurala has two investors from France, Idinvest and 360 Capital Partners. Artificial Intelligence is front and center not only in the investment thesis of several French funds, but also corporate and academic environments are technically and mentally ready to quickly embrace the technology. In addition, it is no coincidence that we have both French employees and interns flowing at a good rate to our U.S. company. Obviously, we look with worried eyes to the evolution of immigration policy in the U.S and look at France as a prime location to open a Neurala subsidiary in Europe in the near future.”


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