“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 11/12/2018

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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.

Before we get to all the industry scuttlebutt, I wanted to announce the availability of my latest technology guide “insideBIGDATA Guide to Data Platforms for Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning” sponsored byDataDirect Networks (DDN). They’re a leader in AI/deep learning optimized storage solutions.

Let’s lead off with some new M&A news … Talend (Nasdaq: TLND) announced its $60M acquisition of Stitch, a two-year-old company that’s a leader in the fast-growing, self-service data integration market. You can find the earnings news release here, and the Stitch acquisition release here. Philadelphia-based Stitch offers point-and-click software gives non-tech users a quick, easy way to move data from cloud sources, such as MongoDB and MySQL databases, to cloud data warehouses. The $60M acquisition makes Talend, a global leader in cloud integration software, the first vendor with open source, cloud integration software for every market segment—from free, entry-level, self-service tools to comprehensive, sophisticated solutions for IT-driven digital transformations … IBM (NYSE:IBM) and Red Hat (NYSE:RHT), a leading provider of open source cloud software, announced  that the companies have reached a definitive agreement under which IBM will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Red Hat for $190.00 per share in cash, representing a total enterprise value of approximately $34 billion.

We received some commentaries about the IBM/Red Hat acquisition:

Both Red Hat and IBM have been massive contributors to the open source world for years. This deal is a large-scale acknowledgement that open source is the driving force in innovation for companies of all sizes, and it demonstrates a keen understanding that enterprises require a multi-cloud solution. I believe 2019 will be the year of consolidation in the cloud ecosystem, from startups to publicly traded companies. Large cloud providers like IBM have incentive to expand their portfolios, and an open source leader such as Red Hat gives them the keys to a much broader spectrum of open source communities.” — Abby Kearns, Executive Director, Cloud Foundry Foundation

IBM buying RedHat acknowledges there is a services component to implementing technologies such as the ones Red Hat makes. IBM buying RedHat validates using technology “Trusted Advisors” to help navigate and implement the new technologies involved, because they are rapidly changing. IBM also validates that it makes sense to go outside the acquire technology/know-how for today’s fast-paced Cloud and DevOps culture.” — Marty Puranik, CEO of Atlantic.Net

IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat was necessary for IBM to gain traction in the cloud space. The company has made significant investments in cloud capabilities, especially around the Watson platform, but they’ve lost sufficient market and mind share to Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. Trailing the leaders as a distant P5, IBM had to do something to get in the game and the Red Hat deal certainly seems like the best available option. That said, the challenge is that even with the Red Hat acquisition it still feels like it may be too little too late. In many ways, Red Hat still feels like a legacy play, and while it offers necessary capabilities for hybrid and multi-cloud deployments, it is by no means sufficient when compared to the investments Microsoft and Google have made in offering a true platform as a service. No doubt the acquisition is good news for enterprises looking to shift classic VM or container-based applications to the cloud, with a stack that is now backed by IBM, but at the end of the day, Amazon has captured much of that market, and when it comes to building modern apps, there are far better approaches. Of course, IBM has course corrected many times over the years, and I expect them to put significant investment into the platform. For developers on the open source stack, that’s good news as the investment will only make Red Hat better. Some may fear that Big Blue will ruin their platform of choice, but I expect the best enterprise application architects and developers will see it as a win all around.” — Ryan Duguid, Chief Evangelist at Nintex

In the new funding category we found a number of transactions that show the spigots are still wide open … AppZen, a leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions for business automation, announced the closing of $35 million Series B financing led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Existing Series A investor Redpoint Ventures and seed investor Resolute Ventures also participated in the round. AppZen will use the funds to scale its team worldwide and expand its AI-powered product suite from expenses into invoices and contracts — to achieve its goal of auditing every dollar of spend across the enterprise. Since launching its audit technology 18 months ago, AppZen has attracted over 650 customers. Twenty-five Fortune 1000 companies use the AppZen platform to save money on spend and improve their expense cultures. The investment brings the company’s total funding to more than $52 million … Hyundai CRADLE, Hyundai Motor Company’s corporate venturing and open innovation business announced its strategic investment in allegro.ai, a leading technology company specializing in deep learning (DL) – based computer vision. This partnership with allegro.ai will allow to speed up deployment of AI technology in many business areas. This will improve the quality of Hyundai’s products, thereby increasing customer satisfaction while creating a safer driving environment. Founded in 2016, allegro.ai offers the first end-to-end DL lifecycle management solution focused on deep learning as it applies to computer vision. The company’s platform simplifies the process of developing and managing deep learning-powered solutions – such as autonomous vehicles, drones, security, logistics and others … Zylotech, a leader in AI-driven customer analytics for marketers, announced it has secured a $5.5M funding round. Leading the investment is Glasswing Ventures, with additional participation from Geekdom Fund, Revel Partners and Rubicon Ventures. The investment will be used to expand the company’s sales, marketing and development. The company also announced that Rudina Seseri, Founder and Managing Partner of Glasswing Ventures, has joined Zylotech’s Board of Directors. Zylotech enables marketers to engage their customers on a deeper and more personal level. Since its MIT spinout and launch in 2017, dozens of enterprises rely on Zylotech to help them attract and retain customers. The company has been recognized by Gartner and other leading analyst firms as a key player in the fast-growing Customer Data Platform (CDP) space … Neo4j, a leader in graph databases, announced that it has closed an $80 million Series E funding round led by One Peak Partners and Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital. Neo4j’s latest round also includes the following existing investors: Creandum, Eight Roads and Greenbridge Partners. Since its founding in 2007, Neo4j has raised a total of $160 million in growth funding – the largest cumulative investment into a graph database company. Today’s funding helps Neo4j continue to deliver customer success with graph-powered business applications, while increasing investment in the company’s flagship graph platform to support popular use cases, including graph-enabled artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) systems. We received a commentary on the Neo4j funding:

Neo4j’s funding is further validation for the graph market. Enterprises continue to adopt graph to support more and more mission-critical applications – including AI, Machine Learning, Knowledge Graphs, fraud detection and more. However, these enterprises are finding that AI and Machine Learning in particular require scalable systems and deep computation over massive volumes of data for powerful graph analytics. These features are available in next generation graph solutions like TigerGraph, which provides unmatched performance, scalability and security. We look forward to seeing the continued widespread adoption of graph, as our research shows 54 percent of organizations that haven’t yet adopted graph say that they are considering it.” – Yu Xu, CEO of TigerGraph

In people movement news we heard … Okera, a leading data management company for data lake security and governance, announced the appointment of Ravi Ramachandran to Vice President of Sales. In his new position, he will be responsible for all revenue functions at Okera. Mr. Ramachandran is a big data and analytics industry leader having led worldwide enterprise sales organizations for some of the industry’s best technology innovators, product category leaders and services companies. His experience extends across big data, data governance, machine learning, and other advanced data and analytics technologies … source{d}, the company enabling Machine Learning for large scale code analysis, announced that Michael Fromberger, former senior software engineer at Google, and technical lead/manager for the Kythe open source project (internally named Grok at Google), will join the company to lead its Language Analysis efforts … Veeam® Software, a leader in Intelligent Data Management for the Hyper-Available Enterprise™, announced that it has re-structured its executive team, promoting Andrei Baronov to Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In addition to Co-Founder Mr. Baronov’s promotion, Ratmir Timashev, Veeam’s other Co-Founder, becomes Executive Vice President (EVP), WW Sales and Marketing, with William Largent assuming the role of Executive Vice President (EVP), Operations. Both Mr. Timashev and Mr. Largent will report to the CEO. These executive changes add extra focus and strength to help the company continue its rapid expansion into the Enterprise and Cloud segments and enable it to accelerate growth across all markets … Lucidworks, a leader in search-driven applications, announced the hiring of digital customer success veteran and innovator, Amanda Berger, to lead and develop the new Customer Excellence arm of the firm. This business unit will include dedicated teams for Customer Success, Customer Support, Professional Services, and Technical Account & Engagement Management … Collibra, a leader in enterprise data governance and catalog software, announced new additions to its senior leadership team: Jeffrey Burk as Senior Vice President, Engineering; Sebastien Giroux as Chief Financial Officer; and Fleur Sohtz as Chief Marketing Officer. The new leadership appointments follow the company’s inclusion in the prestigious Forbes Cloud 100 list for the second year in a row. Collibra is further cementing its position in the market by expanding its geographical footprint with a new office in Australia and a local presence in the Nordics and Southern Europe.

In new customer wins we learned … GigaSpaces, the provider of InsightEdge, a leading in-memory real-time analytics platform for instant insights to action announced that InsightEdge has been selected by Magic Software Enterprises to power their Magic xpi end-to-end integration platform. This integration will enable companies to make faster and smarter data-driven decisions to boost revenues, reduce costs, mitigate risks, and outperform competitors. Providing the free flow of data between leading ERP, CRM, finance, MES and other systems, Magic xpi now leverages InsightEdge which unifies real-time analytics and AI to achieve lean manufacturing, perform predictive maintenance and automate operational workflows. Machine learning models run with sub-second latency on hot data as it’s born, while being enriched with historical context from data lakes, resulting in accurate real time actionable insights for improved decision making.

And finally, in the new partnerships, alignments and collaborations category we heard … The Digital Education and Work Initiative of Texas (DEWIT), an Austin-based non-profit, and Alegion, an Austin-based artificial intelligence software firm, announced a pilot program with Operation: Warrior’s Path, a non-profit organization dedicated to combating PTSD in veterans. The pilot will provide training and online work to disabled veterans … MapR® Technologies, Inc., provider of a leading data platform for AI and Analytics, announced a new partnership with WHISHWORKS, a global IT services and consulting company, to launch the UK’s first Data Platform as a Service which uses MapR technology. The MapR Data Platform integrates Hadoop, Spark, and Apache Drill with real-time database capabilities, global event streaming, and scalable enterprise storage to power a new generation of big data applications. The new MapR powered Data Platform as a Service from WHISHWORKS delivers the enterprise grade security, reliability, and real-time performance of the MapR award winning platform, while dramatically lowering the need for additional investment in hardware, software and specialised resources around a company’s critical applications and data.


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