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“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 8/27/2019

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.

Great summer of data so far! The conferences keep on coming. Like KDD2019 for example, really enjoyed my first KDD in our 49th state! Check out my Field Report.

For our regular industry gossip column, let’s get started with some new funding news … Molecula, an enterprise software company reinventing the Data Virtualization category with a focus on performance, portability and control of data, announced that they have closed an oversubscribed $6m seed round. This new round follows their recent rebranding from Pilosa to Molecula earlier this year.  Enterprises are using AI and Advanced Analytics to turn their growing data—which is distributed across the enterprise in multiple formats, types, and locations—into insights, but the number one bottleneck is the access to all of this data. Current information era techniques involving batching, indexing, federation, aggregation, sampling and caching, leads to long information request cycles and make real-time business decisions almost impossible. This is the reason why 80% of all AI and Analytics projects fail to deliver on expectations. Molecula helps these organizations accelerate and de-risk their analytics and AI projects by making data across multiple sources, types and locations instantly available through a high performance virtualized access layer. Molecula’s patented zero-copy data virtualization approach makes a representation of the data securely portable and instantly actionable … Alegion, the data labeling platform for enterprise data science teams, announced it has completed a $12 million Series A-2 round of funding led by RHS Investments.  Alegion will use the capital to accelerate the integration of Active Learning and other strategic technologies into its Machine Learning Data Labeling Platform. Traditional, human-only approaches to data labeling are often unaffordable when training at scale or when interacting with sophisticated data sets. Paying human workers to label increasingly large amounts of data results in diminishing returns and plateaued model confidence … Cockroach Labs, the company behind the leading enterprise-grade distributed SQL database CockroachDB, announced $55 million in series C funding. The round is led by Altimeter Capital, Tiger Global, and existing investor GV, with participation from existing investors Benchmark, Index Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, FirstMark Capital, and Work-Bench, and brings Cockroach Labs’ total funding to $108.5 million … Eagle Alpha, the pioneers connecting the universe of alternative data, announced their latest round of funding of over USD $2.4 million; their largest funding round to date. The funds will be used to further the expansion of Eagle Alpha’s talent and expertise. Eagle Alpha will hire additional data scientists and engineers to strengthen their technical focus. Eagle Alpha has been providing alternative data solutions since 2012. The new investment round will bolster Eagle Alpha’s ambitions for major expansion … Lucidworks, a leader in AI-powered search solutions, announced a $100 million investment from investors including Francisco Partners , a global technology-focused private equity fund, and TPG Sixth Street Partners , a global finance and investment firm. With the investment, Francisco Partners and TPG Sixth Street Partners join Top Tier Capital Partners, Shasta Ventures, Granite Ventures and Allegis Cyber. No existing investors sold shares as part of this financing and all proceeds will be used to fund Lucidworks’ continued growth and expansion.

We also heard of a number of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Jio, the mobile data network service provider, and Guavus, a Thales company and a leader in AI-powered analytics for communications service providers, announced a partnership centered on AI-driven analytics. Guavus’ AI-based solutions will provide real-time customer experience analytics, predictive analytics to automate network troubleshooting, and key marketing insights to Jio.  As a result, Jio will be able to offer superior service to its customers while addressing critical service operations with intelligent automation … ­Dataiku, a leading Enterprise AI and machine learning platform, announced its partnership with Teradata University Network (TUN) to help bring AI tools and skills to the classroom. The program empowers colleges and universities to unlock the full potential of AI by providing Dataiku software and data science resources to faculty and students. This partnership with TUN is the next step in Dataiku’s journey and mission to educate the data professionals of tomorrow. It is a continuation of the Dataiku Academic Program, which has enabled students around the world to solve real-world problems with data science … DataStax, the company behind the leading database built on Apache Cassandra™, announced an expansion of its collaboration with VMware. DataStax production support on VMware vSAN now includes consistent data, infrastructure, and application management and operations for hybrid and multi-cloud configurations. DataStax with VMware vSAN delivers a more secure, consistent infrastructure, data and application management experience across on-premises, hybrid, and multi-cloud applications. The solution is hybrid and multi-cloud ready with capabilities across clouds to deliver operational and deployment consistency and delivers built-in enterprise-grade availability across zones, regions, data centers, and clouds … FactSet (NYSE:FDS) (NASDAQ:FDS), a global provider of integrated financial information, analytical applications, and industry-leading service, and DataRobot, a leader in enterprise AI, announced the launch of DataRobot’s first AI investment workflow, DataRobot on FactSet. DataRobot on FactSet is an automated machine learning tool that helps financial services organizations – even those without extensive data science operations – incorporate AI into their investment workflows. DataRobot on FactSet integrates advanced automated machine learning technology from DataRobot into the FactSet workstation, allowing clients to build, deploy, monitor, and manage sophisticated machine learning models quickly and easily. Clients can use the tool to create predictive, automated AI applications for factors such as equity volatility, bond performance, and macroeconomic event predictions. The technology will scale AI- and data-driven investment strategies with support from DataRobot’s world-class data science professionals … Diffbot announced an official partnership with the European Journalism Centre to give the organization’s more than 9,000 members complimentary use of the Diffbot Knowledge Graph (DKG). Using a sophisticated combination of machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing, the DKG is a fully autonomous, AI-curated database of more than 1 trillion facts and 10 billion entities sourced from the web. Through the partnership, journalists across the globe can instantly search all of the public information on the web and rely on Diffbot’s AI to identify connections between different entities that would previously take days, if not longer, to discover manually … DataRobot, a leader in enterprise AI, and CallMiner, a leading provider of AI-fueled speech and customer engagement analytics solutions, announced a partnership designed to accelerate AI capabilities within the contact and customer experience center. Through this strategic alliance, CallMiner will leverage DataRobot’s automated machine learning technology and expertise for even more rapid behavioral insight revealing the intent, sentiment and action drivers that matter most for customer experience (CX) and contact center optimization. DataRobot will tap into CallMiner’s extensive conversation analytics capabilities that drive better outcomes, such as improving agent effectiveness, increasing customer satisfaction, or even recommending the next best sales action to an agent in real time. As a leader in conversational intelligence, CallMiner empowers organizations to extract and take action with proven expertise based upon more than 15 years of experience and more than two billion hours of mined conversations. By partnering with DataRobot, CallMiner has dramatically reduced the time needed to build, deploy, and manage its machine learning models at scale.

In the M&A activity category, we learned … Syncsort, a leader in Big Iron to Big Data software, announced it has acquired SQData, an Addison, Texas-based provider of enterprise-class data integration technology. The acquired products and expertise will advance Syncsort’s ability, through its Syncsort Connect portfolio, to help customers unlock the full value of critical mainframe data by making it easier to integrate that data with emerging technologies.

We also heard of some new customer wins … Canoe Intelligence, a technology that automates data and document management and eliminates manual data entry for alternative asset investors, announced a new client relationship with StepStone Group (“StepStone”), a global private markets specialist. StepStone will implement Canoe’s technology and automate operational workflows related to document ingestion and categorization, data extraction and data delivery. Global investment firms like StepStone have a variety of complex client portfolios to manage. Canoe enables these institutional clients to systematically ingest and categorize their alternative investment documents from any source, automatically extract and validate the desired data from those documents, and seamlessly deliver that information into systems of their choosing with more accuracy, speed, and cost efficiency … MemVerge, the inventor of Memory-Converged Infras tructure (MCI), announced that customer Tencent Holdings Limited is accelerating its data warehousing with the help of MemVerge’s breakthrough technology. Alongside Intel, MemVerge is working closely with Tencent to apply persistent memory technology to accelerate the Tencent Sparkling Data Warehouse Suite, a high-performance petabyte-level solution allowing for an easy-to-use enterprise-grade distributed cloud data warehouse … The Copley Consulting Group, a Qlik Elite Solution Provider, announced that two Health and Human Services (HHS) agencies in Florida, the Department of Health and Department of Children and Families, and the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services have chosen the Qlik Sense® platform to visualize insights from multiple data sources, with the objective of better servicing their various constituents … TigerGraph, the scalable graph database for the enterprise, announced that Kickdynamic has chosen TigerGraph’s technology to help its more than 200 global customers in fashion, retail, travel, and other sectors achieve maximum email personalization and relevancy. Kickdynamic is tapping into the power of TigerGraph’s native parallel graph database on AWS Cloud for its open time platform that hyper-personalizes email with dynamic, real-time content based on multiple factors, such as demographics, user preferences, product features, location and browsing, search and purchase history.

And finally, we received a couple of commentaries on the HPE/MapR acquisition:

“HPE purchasing MapR is representative of a broader market shift, one that is moving away from the big data era Hadoop vendors championed into one driven by cloud, AI and machine learning,” said Adam Wilson, CEO of Trifacta. “Looking ahead what we’ll continue to see is significant investments like those by Google and Salesforce as analytics workloads grow exponentially on the cloud, driven by its elastic scale and agility.”

“This acquisition isn’t a big surprise given how the big data analytics industry has evolved over the past decade,” said Ashish Thusoo, co-founder and CEO, Qubole. “Companies like MapR exploded onto the scene with new technologies for doing large-scale analytics in on-premises data centers, but the scale and economics of the cloud have changed the game and companies like MapR and Cloudera have struggled to adapt. Hadoop-based platforms are a challenge to set up and manage, and the technology was difficult to adapt to the cloud. It’s nice to see that MapR could find a home for some of their assets in HPE, who has done a good job of buying software and bundling it as a value-added offering for their hardware.”

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