“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 10/29/2018

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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.

It’s been another busy week in the big data ecosystem. Just in case you missed it, our new IMPACT 50 list of the most impactful companies for Q4 2018 came out. These companies rock!

Let’s get started with some new funding news … DataRobot, the creator of the automated machine learning category, has raised $100 million in Series D funding, bringing its total funding to $225 million. The round was led by Meritech and Sapphire Ventures, with participation from DFJ Growth and 16 previous investors including NEA, IA Ventures, and Intel Capital. Meritech’s Rob Ward and Sapphire’s Jai Das have joined the Board of Directors. DataRobot was founded by experienced applied data scientists in 2012, long before the current resurgence of AI. Their mission was to develop technology to automate the process of building and operationalizing machine learning models. Over the last four years, DataRobot has put this technology into the hands of companies across different industries and geographies, regardless of size and level of AI maturity. The company will use the new financing to address the demand for its proven approach to automating data science initiatives and to expand its product portfolio. The funds will also support the continued expansion of the company’s global operations and development of its services offering … Ople, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based artificial intelligence software company, has secured $8M in Series A funding to expand the capabilities of its AI building AI™ platform. Triage Ventures led the round, with Hack VC joining and seed investors continuing their support. Ople has grown dramatically in 2018, continuing to lead the fast-changing AI industry with its unique approach and exceeding customer expectations. With more than 10,000 talented applicants from the technical community applying for jobs, the team size more than doubled over the last year, and the company plans to continue the rapid growth … Waterline Data, a leader in data cataloging solutions and applications, announced the company has raised $14.5 million in Series C funding. Menlo Ventures led the round with additional participation from Jackson Square Ventures, Partech Ventures and Infosys. This round brings total capital raised to date to $37.5 million. After years of rapid growth, Waterline Data will use the investment to accelerate product innovation and continue to support an aggressive push toward global expansion and go-to-market strategies … Infoworks.io, a leading software platform provider for agile data engineering, announced it has closed $25 million in Series C funding led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), with participation of existing investors Nexus Venture Partners and Centerview Capital Technology. This latest round of financing will be used to scale up the company’s go-to-market initiatives to meet market demand … Conversica, Inc., a leader in conversational artificial intelligence (AI) for business, announced that it has secured a $31 million Series C funding round, the largest Series C investment to date in a conversational AI company. The Series C was led by existing investor Providence Strategic Growth Capital Partners L.L.C. (PSG), an affiliate of Providence Equity Partners, with participation from other existing investors Toba Capital and Kennet Partners and from new investors CIBC and Savano Capital. This funding round brings the total invested-in capital in Conversica to $87 million, including $34 million raised in a Series B round and $22 million in Series A rounds. Investment proceeds will be used to fund global sales and marketing expansion, as well as to continue development of Conversica’s award-winning technology, which was recently awarded a U.S. patent for an AI-powered system that automatically carries on conversations … Incorta, the hyperconverged analytics software company, announced $15 million in funding by M12, Microsoft’s venture fund (formerly Microsoft Ventures), and Telstra Ventures. This round coincides with the company’s Fall ’18 release, which makes the platform horizontally scalable for any volume of data without the need for partitioning, performance tuning or query optimization. M12 and Telstra Ventures’ investments bring Incorta’s Series B funding to $30 million … Petuum, Inc., a machine learning (ML) infrastructure platform, has closed $93 million in Series B funding led by a subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp. (“SoftBank”), with participation from previous investor Advantech Capital. Petuum has raised a total of $108 million, making it one of the best-funded early-stage AI startups.

In M&A activity we heard … Infogix, a leading provider of data management tools, has acquired DATUM, a leader in data governance software and strategic services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Through this acquisition, Infogix enhances its industry-leading data governance framework with several key elements of DATUM’s proven Information Value Management® framework and prepackaged, outcome driven use cases to drive greater value for customers. DATUM’s expertise in metadata management, as evidenced by its position in Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for Metadata Management, will help to further drive customer success. The acquisition also expands Infogix’s footprint in new markets, including consumer products, chemicals, manufacturing, food and beverage, and pharmaceuticals, where data governance and metadata management are mission-critical capabilities … Oracle announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire DataFox, whose cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) data engine and derived business content provide the most current, precise and expansive set of company-level information and insightful data to optimize business decisions. DataFox continuously extracts detailed data on more than 2.8 million public and private businesses while adding 1.2 million businesses annually. Customers like Goldman Sachs, Bain & Company and Twilio utilize DataFox’s insightful data to prioritize accounts, enrich leads, refresh and harmonize CRM data and identify new prospects. The combination of Oracle and DataFox will enhance Oracle Cloud Applications with an extensive set of trusted company-level data and signals, enabling customers to reach even better decisions and business outcomes.

In the new partnerships, alignments, and collaborations category we learned … Delphix, the company accelerating innovation through DataOps, announced it has extended its partnership with Datical, the leading provider of database release automation solutions, to bring new DataOps solutions to market that unlock the potential of data to drive business transformation. Already in use by over one-half of the Fortune 50, Delphix and Datical are driving the emerging DataOps ecosystem that will enable more Global 2000 companies to open up the flow of fast, secure data to move fast and compete in today’s Digital Economy … H2O.ai, an open source leader in AI, announced a new strategic partnership with Snowflake Computing, the data warehouse built for the cloud, to deliver the full power of AI and machine learning (ML) to the Snowflake data warehouse for enterprise organizations. Together, the companies deliver a comprehensive solution that directly connects H2O enterprise open source and H2O Driverless AI, with Snowflake and enables customers to deploy strong ML capabilities at scale and drive better, more efficient decision making … Sinequa, a leader in cognitive search and analytics, announced a partnership with ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation, a total IT service provider with more than 45 years of experience in delivering innovative technologies, to commercialize, deploy and manage the Sinequa Cognitive Search & Analytics Platform in Japan. Sinequa and ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation will help alleviate the collective cognitive burden for organizations that are confronted with massive amounts of data to analyze by empowering their knowledge workers with AI-driven search. On any given day, a typical large enterprise may need to surface insights from data volumes of more than 500 million documents and billions of records. Sinequa provides an AI-powered platform that enables life science companies to become information-driven by extracting and leveraging critical insights from large volumes of complex data. Headquartered in Tokyo, ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation complements Sinequa’s strengths with about three decades of experience and more than 6,000 engineers to serve major customers primarily from Japan as well as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the United States … Atos, a global leader in digital transformation, together with Google Cloud, welcomed Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, Rt Hon Margot James MP to launch Atos’ first artificial intelligence (AI) lab under the Atos and Google Cloud’s global partnership. The Atos AI lab in London will bring together expertise in AI alongside private and public sector organizational capabilities to collaborate and unlock cross-enterprise opportunities. The new lab will be available to businesses and public-sector organizations across Europe to utilize AI technologies and to define and design use cases relevant to their needs, such as for example, using connected sensors in the supply chain of an energy company to create safer and more efficient operations to using data analytics and machine learning algorithms to reduce fraud in financial services. The Atos AI Lab will enable Atos to enrich its data analytics suite Codex Industry Solutions with Google AI and data technologies to provide customers with industry-specific solutions. It will also help build an ecosystem of highly-skilled AI workers in London and across Europe … Darktrace and Endace announced a partnership that combines Darktrace’s cyber AI with Endace’s unparalleled forensic capabilities. This combined solution empowers organizations to discover in-progress attacks anywhere on the digital infrastructure with Darktrace’s AI, and investigate them with industry-leading speed, scale and accuracy using Endace’s packet-level network history.

We also found out about a number of new customer wins … ParallelM, a rapidly growing company pioneering the machine learning operationalization (MLOps) space, announced that Wisely, a provider of AI-powered fundraising solutions for not-for-profits, has selected ParallelM’s MCenter to operationalize its machine learning. With MCenter, Wisely can quickly deploy and optimize new ML applications without needing additional resources to scale its fundraising productivity tool, which uses machine learning algorithms to produce real-time insights that are essential to successful not-for-profit fundraising … The Copley Consulting Group, a Qlik Elite Solution Provider, announced that Meridian School District #223, a school system in central Illinois, has implemented the Qlik Sense® platform to utilize Big Data analytics typically reserved for Fortune 500 companies. Meridian is utilizing an innovative per student subscription model developed jointly by Copley and Qlik that allows the district to take advantage of advanced analytics capabilities at a cost-effective price point … Redis Labs, the home of Redis and provider of Redis Enterprise, announced that dating app Coffee Meets Bagel has turned to Redis Enterprise to dramatically improve its application performance and smoothly scale operations as the company expands internationally and experiences massive user base grows. Coffee Meets Bagel is a highly curated online dating service. Since its founding in 2012, the dating app provider has grown to more than three million users around the globe. As the business grew rapidly, their existing Cassandra implementation experienced noticeable scalability issues, resulting in partial outages that impacted user experience. As a result, Coffee Meets Bagel turned to Redis Enterprise to deliver consistent high-performance. Redis Enterprise Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) was deployed to increase performance and seamlessly scale across the globe while serving a number of critical functions, including caching, user analytics and real-time data streaming.

In people movement news we learned … YotaScale announced the appointment of Usman Abbasi as CTO and vice president of engineering. In this role, Usman is responsible for building YotaScale’s engineering team and driving the next phase of innovation and growth for the company, which applies machine learning to some of the most significant challenges arising from enterprise cloud adoption. YotaScale also named Garrett Reynolds, former director of customer success at ServiceNow, as the new head of customer success, as well as Grant Swanson, who most recently led demand generation for Avi Networks, as head of global demand generation and marketing operations.

In the special news department we heard … ​Citus Data, ​​a leading provider of scale-out Postgres database technologies, today announced it is donating 1 percent of its equity to the non-profit PostgreSQL organizations in the US and Europe. The United States PostgreSQL Association has received the stock grant and will work with the PostgreSQL Europe organization to support the growth, education, and future innovation of the open source Postgres database in both the US and in Europe. To coincide with Citus Data’s equity donation, the company is joining the Pledge 1% movement, alongside well-known technology organizations such as Atlassian, Twilio, Box, and more … The Splice Machine data platform is now part of the Accenture Insights Platform (AIP). AIP is an analytics-as-a-service solution designed to simplify analytics and support a data-native culture. It delivers actionable insights that unlock business value trapped in data and create new value for clients. Offered in a pay-as-you-use service model, the platform includes a suite of pre-built analytics apps and tools to support a multitude of industries and business functions. The addition of Splice Machine to AIP not only enables customers to leverage data at any scale for operational and analytical workloads, but with built-in machine learning and a data science workbench, the Splice Machine data platform also enables customers to easily build and deploy mission-critical real-time AI applications with much less complexity. Splice Machine is a full-stack AI platform, requiring fewer infrastructure engineers to duct tape compute engines together and demanding much less data movement, so that analysis and machine learning are up-to-date and in the moment, resulting in smarter applications that make better decisions.

And finally, in observance of Internet Day (October 29), we received the following commentaries:

This Internet Day, it’s hard to overstate just how far we’ve come since the first early websites. Now, more than just connecting people and computers, the Internet is as much about connecting ‘things.’ According to Gartner, there will be 20 billion internet-connected things online by 2020. These are creating a data revolution all on their own, and the challenge for IT teams is how to incorporate these new data sources into existing analytics environments and make insights quickly and easily accessible to the business. Due to the sheer volume of connected devices both today and rapidly rising into the future, the only realistic solution is to embrace automation to ingest, transform and deliver real-time data and insight to meet the speed of the business. Data automation can ensure that, regardless of the type of data – streaming or otherwise, businesses will be able to absorb the astronomical volume of data on the horizon and be in a position to leverage its insights quickly,” said Neil Barton, CTO at WhereScape.

The Internet has changed the face of the world over the last 50 years. What started with two terminals, each in a university computer science department, has become billions of connected devices globally. We’re now witnessing the birth of the next device boom: the Internet of Things – or IoT. Beyond laptops and smartphones, Internet connectivity now includes a wide range of everyday objects and industrial assets – from cameras, sensors and monitoring devices to voice assistants like Siri and Echo. There is, of course, a security cost associated with this. Modern software development techniques are a rich source of future security bugs. Programmers nowadays are no longer scientists; they are fitters – assembling third party libraries, components and tools to create a desired application. They are doing this without a clear understanding of the underlying principles of how these libraries work at a fundamental level. Any failure in one of these software components, any lack of understanding in how to assemble them – or even in how they interact with the rest of the Internet – is likely to lead to a significant future vulnerability. Like all attacks, IoT incidents are unpredictable and can potentially cause tremendous damage.As people continue to connect their household devices to the Internet, you can expect to see some significant privacy breaches over the coming years. We need to be thinking about this now, particularly as organizations lacking the skills or experience to build such products jump onto the IoT bandwagon,” said Stephen Gailey, solutions architect at Exabeam.

Given the massive span of the Internet, more and more organizations are reaching a tipping point of just how much data they can process and turn into information and insights that are critical to innovation and making proper business decisions. As a result, organizations are becoming rich in data and poor in insights. Global Internet Day is a good opportunity to reflect on the evolution of search and analytics techniques and how modern technologies are helping employees access the right information faster and spend less time searching through irrelevant content. Finding ways to focus on relevant information in the proper context will significantly reduce the overall cognitive burden that obscures new insights and discoveries,” said Scott Parker, director of product marketing at Sinequa.


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