“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 6/25/2018

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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 M&A activity, people movements, funding news, financial results, industry alignments, customer wins, 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.

Welcome to another installment of our Rumor Central: Above the Trend Line, where all the latest scuttlebutt bubbles up to the surface for our readers to digest. The summer conference season is really heating up. I recently attended the Alteryx Inspire 2018 conference June 4-7, and also the DataWorks Summit 2018 in Silicon Valley June 18-21. In the big data industry, there’s never a dull moment. We’re all excited to be up to our necks in all that’s happening. This is exciting!

Let’s get started with some M&A activity … Workday, Inc. (NASDAQ:WDAY), a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, and Adaptive Insights, a leading cloud-based platform for modernizing business planning, have signed a definitive agreement under which Workday will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Adaptive Insights for approximately $1.55 billion including approximately $150 million in unvested equity issued to Adaptive Insights employees … SMART Global Holdings, Inc. (“SMART”) (NASDAQ: SGH) announced that it has acquired Penguin Computing, Inc. (“Penguin”), a privately held company and a leader in specialty compute and storage solutions targeting applications in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and High-Performance Computing (HPC) using state-of-the-art, open technologies and advanced industry architectures. Penguin’s compute and storage solutions are also available on a secure cloud infrastructure. Penguin will continue as a standalone operation being the first part of a new business unit, SMART Specialty Compute & Storage Solutions (SCSS), which will benefit from shared infrastructure and the ability to leverage the products and capabilities of SMART’s Specialty Memory business unit into the emerging AI and ML markets. The acquisition of Penguin and the creation of SMART SCSS will serve as a broad platform on which SGH can further build … Microsoft announced its plan to take another major step forward in the vision to make it easier for developers and subject matter experts to build the “brains”— machine learning model for autonomous systems of all kinds with the signing of an agreement to acquire Bonsai. Based in Berkeley, California, and an M12 portfolio company, Bonsai has developed a novel approach using machine teaching that abstracts the low-level mechanics of machine learning, so that subject matter experts, regardless of AI aptitude, can specify and train autonomous systems to accomplish tasks. The actual training takes place inside a simulated environment.

In the new funding category, we learned … Immuta announced it has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by DFJ Growth, with participation from new investors Dell Technologies Capital and Citi Ventures, and existing investors Drive Capital and Greycroft. The investment will be used to accelerate global customer growth and extend product leadership for Immuta’s data management platform for artificial intelligence (AI). Immuta enables data scientists, data owners and governance teams to work together in a single digital platform to access data faster and in a legal and ethical manner, lowering business risk and bridging the gap between the law and AI … Agorai, an integrated marketplace for Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and the data assets that fuel them, announced it has committed to invest £20 million in the UK AI market. The investment will help accelerate the economic benefits that can be generated by leveraging the power of AI and its ability to transform society and positively impact the UK economy. The multi-year investment announced will be distributed over the next five years. It will span the AI ecosystem by focusing on three key areas: education, empowerment, and entrepreneurship … LevaData, the company that helps global enterprises improve gross margins by reducing supply chain costs, announced that it has completed a $12 million Series B financing round, including a lead investment from existing Series A investor Tola Capital. LevaData will use the proceeds from this funding round to continue to invest in deepening the capability of the Cognitive Sourcing™ platform for high tech and manufacturing customers and expansion into key vertical markets, including industrial equipment and medical devices, as well as to drive innovation in engineering and data science. LevaData will also continue to grow its presence and engineering team in Silicon Valley, including the appointment of Sreeni Iyer as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) … Devo, the data operations company announced a $25 million Series C funding round led by Insight Venture Partners with participation from Kibo Ventures. This new funding and rebrand follows a momentous year for the company, formerly known as Logtrust, marked by rapid growth and market expansion. Leveraging its strong data and analytics experience working with global organizations in the financial services, telecommunications, retail, and manufacturing industries, Devo is changing the way enterprise organizations use data to improve operations and more quickly evolve in today’s digital marketplace. Moving beyond the periodic and siloed analysis of operational data, Devo empowers organizations to combine streaming with historical data to make contextually informed, real-time decisions that deliver new business insights. Devo enables organizations to more efficiently derive deeper value from operational, security, application, IoT and machine data, helping drive continuous improvements, from enhanced customer experiences to reduced operating costs … Crate.io, developer of CrateDB, a leading open source SQL database for real-time machine data and IoT applications,  announced $11 million in series A funding, along with the commercially-available Crate Machine Data Platform and version 3.0 of the open source CrateDB. The new funding was led by Zetta Venture Partners and Deutsche Invest Equity with participation from Chalfen Ventures, Momenta Partners and Charlie Songhurst. Existing investors Draper Esprit, Vito Ventures and Solomon Hykes also participated in the round, which will be used to accelerate development and adoption of both the commercial and open source offerings … YugaByte Inc, creator of YugaByte DB, a leading cloud native transactional database for globally distributed applications, announced it has secured $16 million in additional funding. This latest investment round was co-led by Dell Technologies Capital and previous investor Lightspeed Venture Partners.

In terms of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations, we learned … Kinetica, provider of the insight engine for the Extreme Data Economy, announced it has collaborated with Dell EMC OEM Solutions to offer a bundled solution that provides its users with exceptional performance and versatility for extreme data workloads. Customers can now move quickly from raw data to actionable insights that help transform their businesses. As more users, devices, and things come online, it becomes increasingly important to build digital relationships. Dell EMC OEM and Kinetica combined forces to establish a modern data platform that can correlate massive data sets across users, digital things, and edge devices –and translate them into instant insight. Many business rely on legacy database technologies that use serial computing, where they store, manage, and analyze data with CPUs. This is no longer enough to deal with the volume and complexity of extreme data. Innovative organizations are turning to GPU-accelerated insight engines to address these extreme data challenges … Dataguise, a leader in data privacy protection and compliance, and Snowflake, the data warehouse built for the cloud, announced that DgSecure software has been integrated into Snowflake’s cloud-based data warehousing platform. The technology partnership provides an end-to-end solution for compliance-ready data analytics to joint enterprise customers impacted by high levels of governmental oversight.

In people movement news we heard … TigerGraph, the fast graph analytics platform for the enterprise, announced that it named as its chief scientist Dr. Alin Deutsch, professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. Deutsch will be responsible for leading TigerGraph’s development strategy, technical path and key technical direction as the company continues to disrupt the graph market … Alegion, an AI-enablement platform for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning initiatives, announced the appointment of Don Roedner as the company’s Head of Marketing. He will be responsible for the company’s demand generation, online presence and corporate communications. Roedner brings more than 25 years to his new role, working with B2B software companies throughout his career in capacities ranging from product marketing to corporate communications to demand-generation, for both startups and publicly traded companies … Dataguise, a leader in data privacy protection and compliance, announced the appointment of Brian Reid as Sales Manager for EMEA. Recognized for strong sales leadership, Mr. Reid has successfully led organizations, including Tableau, Dell, and Quest Software, in exceeding revenue goals throughout his career. In his new position, his focus will center on growing the company’s presence in Europe and beyond. Reid brings with him more than 20 years of sales management experience, spent primarily in senior positions at leading technology providers. Prior to Dataguise, Reid was instrumental in expanding and managing sales operations for companies that include Tableau, Dell and Quest Software, including the development of strategic relationships with medium to large enterprises throughout EMEA. In addition to supporting customers with IT management solutions from these organizations, Reid spent years cultivating relationships with Tier One accounts as he improved sales volumes for regions under his management.

We also learned of some new customer wins starting with … WekaIO, a leader in high-performance, scalable file storage for AI and technical compute applications, announced that TuSimple, a leader in autonomous truck technology, has selected the WekaIO Matrix™ HPC storage system to provide flash-based parallel file storage capabilities to accelerate its deep neural network (DNN) machine learning training. Matrix is a fast, and scalable parallel file system for data intensive workloads … Cloudian, a leader in enterprise object storage systems, announced that its HyperStore products have been deployed by Enterprise Networking Solutions Inc. (ENS-Inc), a premier State of California IT solutions provider, as part of a storage-as-a-service (STaaS) offering for the State of California. The solution, named STaaS On-Premises, is a cloud storage service provided on a subscription, pay-per-use basis by ENS-Inc. Already in use by more than 10 state and local agencies, the solution is provided to these agencies through the California Department of Technology (CDT) … Guavus, a pioneer in artificial Intelligence (AI)-based big data analytics, announced that one of the largest North America cable operators has deployed the Guavus Reflex® solution with Guavus Live Ops customer care operations analytics. Using the advanced analytics solution, the operator has been able to substantially improve customer satisfaction, attract new customers, accelerate operations, and reduce costs by more than $102M annually.

And finally, here are some miscellaneous notes we gathered while in the field … The recent news of Amazon shareholders telling Jeff Bezos to stop marketing facial recognition tool helped ignite the technological version of the age-old debate: innovation vs. privacy. There are several leading experts in AI that have long argued that we could have both and that there is no requirement to sacrifice privacy under the guise of innovation. Neurala CEO Max Versace is one of these few experts making this case as he has long advocated for user privacy to allow AI to operate on edge devices like cameras.

Only on-device learning bears the promise of protecting user data—shipping your data and identity on the cloud is contrary to privacy. The future of an AI that does the job while respecting privacy—in particular when we are talking about a police force—requires learning on the device.”

Teradata (NYSE: TDC), a leading cloud-based data and analytics company, filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against SAP SE, SAP America, Inc. and SAP Labs, LLC (collectively, “SAP”) for trade secret misappropriation, copyright infringement and  antitrust violations. Teradata issued the following statement:

As set forth in the complaint, Teradata is alleging that SAP has engaged in a decade-long campaign of  anti-competitive behavior, to the detriment of the parties’ customers and Teradata alike. SAP lured  Teradata into a purported joint venture in order to gain access to Teradata’s valuable intellectual  property. SAP’s purpose for the joint venture was to steal Teradata’s trade secrets, developed over the  course of four decades, and use them to quickly develop and introduce a competing though inferior  product, SAP HANA. Upon release of SAP HANA, SAP promptly terminated the joint venture, and SAP is now attempting to coerce its customers into using HANA only, to the exclusion of Teradata.  Teradata  supports competition and innovation in the data and analytics space. SAP’s conduct,  however, is neither pro-competitive nor innovative. We believe seeking relief through legal action  against SAP is a necessary step to protect the rights and interests of our shareholders and all of our other stakeholders, including our customers.

Teradata is seeking an injunction barring SAP’s illegal conduct, monetary damages, and all
other legal and equitable relief available under law and which the court may deem proper.

Silicon Valley-based AI company Conversica is paying homage to the visionary whose ideas helped shape how modern AI works: Alan Turing. Conversica, a leader in conversational AI for business, has declared Turing’s June 23 birthday as “AI Day” in his honor as the company celebrates 50 million human-machine conversations—the equivalent of reaching 1 in 5 Americans—with its AI software.

We owe a huge debt to Alan Turing,” said Alex Terry, CEO of Conversica. “Without Turing’s research on ‘Intelligent Machinery,’ artificial intelligence companies like Conversica could not have been imagined. When Turing first described how machines could learn, computers as we know them were in their infancy – using vacuum tubes. But Turing articulated ideas in 1948 that guide how modern AI works some 70 years later. Without Turing’s vision to shape the future of computer and data science, we would not be benefiting from the tremendous capabilities of AI today and likely my company and countless other successful AI enterprises would not exist. That’s why it’s appropriate that his June 23 birthday be henceforth known as ‘AI Day’ in his honor.”

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