“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 8/5/2019

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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, industry partnerships, 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.

A data scientist’s work is never done! More conferences this summer. Next up is KDD2019 in beautiful Anchorage, Alaska. I’m looking forward to this one as it will be my first KDD. Should be a blast. Stay tuned for my upcoming Field Report on the event.

For now, let’s start off with some big data industry new funding news … Armory, the enterprise software company commercializing Spinnaker, the leading open source continuous delivery platform from Netflix and Google, announced that it has raised a $28 million Series B financing round led by Insight Partners. The round also included follow-on investments from all existing investors, including Crosslink Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, Mango Capital, YCombinator and Javelin Venture Partners. This new round brings the company’s total funding raised to date to over $42 million. The company also announced that Lonne Jaffe, managing director at Insight Partners, has joined Armory’s board of directors. The funding will be used for increased research and development around Spinnaker as well as investments in sales, marketing, support and training … QOMPLX™, an intelligent decision platform provider, announced it has closed its Series A financing totaling $78.6 million, led by Cannae Holdings, Inc. and Motive Partners. Formerly known as Fractal Industries, QOMPLX will use the growth capital to rapidly expand the company and accelerate growth. Cannae Holdings Chairman William Foley II has joined QOMPLX’s Board of Directors. QOMPLX makes it faster and easier for organizations to integrate all of the disparate data sources across the enterprise into a unified analytics infrastructure to make better decisions. This broader analytics infrastructure is provided through QOMPLX OS, an enterprise operating system that powers QOMPLX’s decision platforms in cybersecurity, insurance underwriting, and quantitative finance.

We also heard of some M&A news … MRI Software (“MRI”), a global leader in real estate software solutions, announced that it has acquired LEVERTON, a leading artificial intelligence (AI)-powered data extraction solution for real estate and corporate documents. The acquisition bolsters MRI’s comprehensive and flexible offering and gives property owners, service providers, and corporate occupiers broader access to LEVERTON’s market-leading automated lease abstraction application. With LEVERTON, organizations are able to more quickly and efficiently turn unstructured information in leases and other corporate and legal documents into data sets that can be mined for actionable insights, leading to better business decisions and improved operational efficiencies … Moody’s Corporation (NYSE:MCO) announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Four Twenty Seven, Inc., a leading provider of data, intelligence, and analysis related to physical climate risks. The acquisition solidifies Moody’s commitment to promoting transparent and globally consistent standards for evaluating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities.

In the people movement category, we learned … Talend (NASDAQ: TLND), a global leader in cloud data integration and data integrity, announced it has appointed Lauren Vaccarello, former Vice President of Marketing at Box, as Chief Marketing Officer. Vaccarello brings significant SaaS-industry marketing experience to Talend and has a lengthy track record of accelerating revenue growth at some of Silicon Valley’s fastest-growing SaaS companies through modern digital marketing, branding, and demand generation campaigns. Her appointment comes amid rapid growth in Talend’s cloud-based business, with its SaaS offering Talend Cloud representing 36% of new ARR in Q1 2019 and growing more than 100% year-over-year for eleven consecutive quarters. Vaccarello will be responsible for directing the company’s marketing organization and leading its branding efforts …

In the new partnerships, alignments and collaborations department we heard … Avis Budget Group (NASDAQ: CAR) announced a partnership with Otonomo, a leading automotive data services platform, to unlock new avenues for value creation from the data generated by its connected fleet. The fleet will cover an estimated 4 billion road miles this year and is anticipated to generate over 7 billion road miles of data with its fully connected fleet in 2020. The Otonomo Automotive Data Services Platform will help Avis Budget Group gain new and actionable insights from its connected cars, which span a diverse range of makes, models and telematics technologies. By reshaping this disparate connected car data for new users, Avis Budget Group will gain insights to streamline operations, reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction. The Otonomo Platform also provides Avis Budget Group with new opportunities for collaboration with cities and other partners that benefit its customers and the general public … HVR, a leading independent provider of real-time cloud data replication technology, and WhereScape, a leading provider in data infrastructure automation software, announced their partnership. Together, WhereScape and HVR bring automation and rapid data integration to data infrastructure efforts, accelerating the delivery of real-time data to businesses … VoltDB, the enterprise-class database platform that powers real-time intelligent decisions on streaming data, announced an exclusive strategic sales partnership with system integration provider, Shanghai Wisdom Information Technology Company Ltd. The partnership expands VoltDB’s footprint in the greater Shanghai and eastern China territories, enabling the company to meet burgeoning demand for real-time applications. Since 2018, VoltDB and Wisdom have worked together to close multiple pieces of business, including a new generation trading system at The Bank of Communications, the third largest bank in China and the fifth largest bank in the world … Tellius, a leading provider of AI-powered augmented analytics software, announced a partnership with Snowflake, Inc, the data warehouse built for the cloud. Through the partnership, the Tellius Search and AI-Powered Analytics platform is certified to natively connect to the Snowflake data warehouse, allowing customers to discover insights at scale without worrying about analytics performance. Organizations leverage Tellius as a fast, simplified, and collaborative approach for business users, data analysts, citizen data scientists, and data engineers to visualize enterprise data using natural language and voice, discover insights assisted by AI, and automate machine learning across all their business data.

We also learned of some new customer wins news … DataStax, the company behind the leading database built on Apache Cassandra™, announced that MobilePay, a leading payments application in Denmark, moved to DataStax as part of a mainframe migration. The move supported the application’s implementation of a new digital strategy to cope with its massive growth across Denmark and Finland … Looker, a leading data platform company, announced that PopSockets, maker of expandable phone grips, relies on the Looker data platform to establish and maintain a data-driven culture during its tremendous growth. By making data-driven decisions a priority, PopSockets ensures maximum efficiencies within the company, and protects the quality of its product for customers during its ongoing global growth.

Amazon’s earnings, released last week, dipped far below expert predictions. With AWS generating $8.3 billion this quarter, up 35% from Q2 2018, their rate of growth is starting to slip. While still far outpacing Google Cloud’s $8 billion/year revenue and Microsoft’s $11 billion revenue this quarter, could this dip in growth give the competition a chance to catch up? In terms of explaining why AWS’s growth rate is losing traction as well as what a consistent decline in earnings could mean for the future of the cloud marketplace, we received the following comments:

Amazon is still growing at an unprecedented rate. The cloud landscape is still highly fragmented, and to see Amazon maintain this level of dominance over the years is very impressive,” said Grant Kirkwood, CTO and Co-Founder of Unitas Global. “With the ‘law of big numbers’ 40% growth on $7B is a lot more than 60% growth on $2B, and their growth is nothing to shrug off. With Amazon still in the lead, we’re not surprised about the effort and traction that Microsoft and Google have been able to secure with their offerings. As the cloud market and the cloud buyer is maturing, so are how different clouds are used for different workloads. Sophisticated buyers know the unique capabilities of each cloud and are levering ‘best of breed’ consumption in multiple clouds. For example, to better leverage available AI capabilities, IT decision-makers are putting specific workloads in GCP. Just a few short years ago, the default answer was to go ‘all-in’ on AWS. Also, Microsoft and Google grabbing market share by becoming much more price competitive, often dropping rates below AWS to secure a new customer. They’ve also upgraded many of their services to better ease adoption, making their offerings much easier to use for new customers. Microsoft and Google are also more heavily leveraging the channels and marketing to better position themselves with new customers. This is not a surprise as it’s very much a part of the history & DNA of these companies. Microsoft and Google are continuously funding programs and initiatives for their channel partners. As a partner of each, it’s clear that Microsoft and Google are more willing to invest financially and programmatically in their channel partners to ensure joint success in this highly competitive market.

And finally, we received the following comments regarding the implications of Google’s recent acquisition of Elastifile:

The purpose of Google’s acquisition is to bring traditional workloads into the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) faster and provide better storage scalability with the support of Elastifile,” said Todd Matters, Chief Architect and Co-Founder at RackWare. “Most clouds have suffered from storage scalability, particularly on the Network-Attached Storage (NAS) side of storage. The Elastifile acquisition should improve Google’s ability to provide a superior NAS solution with better overall management and automation. It remains to be seen how successfully Elastifile will be integrated into GCP and when it will have an impact. While the NAS management and scalability will be a positive for Google, relying on the acquisition to improve bringing workloads into the cloud is greatly misguided. This is because the mobility of applications and workloads is not adequately addressed by storage solutions. The strategy of simply copying storage to a new location and calling that mobility is antiquated and wrought with problems when trying to get the workload functional. There are far superior methods of workload migration, especially relative to the cloud.

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