“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 9/16/2019

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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.

Let’s start off this edition of “The Trend Line” with some new funding news … Explorium announced that it has secured $19M in funding to scale its new breed of data science platform fueled by Automated Data and Feature Discovery. Data science is the industry standard for deriving business value from data, enabling companies to generate new revenue, mitigate risk and optimize marketing and operations. While recent strides in the automation of data science have largely focused on machine learning algorithms, the accuracy of predictive models is still dependent on the data that feeds them. Explorium is the first company to empower data scientists with end-to-end automation of the data discovery and generation of ‘features’ — data attributes that can have predictive power … Trifacta, a leader in data wrangling, announced it has secured $100 million in financing. This round of funding welcomes new investors, including Telstra Ventures, Energy Impact Partners, NTT DOCOMO Ventures, BMW iVentures and ABN AMRO Digital Impact Fund. It also includes additional investment from existing investors including Accel Partners, Cathay Innovation, Google, Greylock Partners, Ignition Partners, and Infosys. The new capital will fuel adoption of Trifacta’s industry leading data wrangling platform, which provides a modern, self-service approach to cleaning and preparing data. The investment will also accelerate the company’s continued expansion into new geographies, new verticals and product areas. Telstra and NTT DOCOMO will be instrumental in increasing customer success in Asia Pacific and will help penetrate the telecommunications vertical respectively. Other strategic investors such as BMW, Energy Impact Partners and ABN AMRO Digital Impact Fund will ensure broader success in the automotive, energy, utilities and banking … Technology company Continental has acquired a minority stake in Israeli start-up company Cartica AI. Cartica AI develops software in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). The solutions from Cartica AI are designed to accelerate machine learning in the field of object recognition. In the future, automotive systems for automated and autonomous driving will be able to adapt to and handle new traffic situations more quickly. The parties have agreed not to disclose the investment amount … To help enterprises compete in this new world, ThoughtSpot announced it has closed $248M in funding at a valuation of $1.95B in an oversubscribed round, bringing the company’s total funding to $554M. New investor Silver Lake Waterman, Silver Lake’s late-stage growth capital fund joined existing backers Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sapphire Ventures, and Geodesic Capital in this round of funding … Flatfile, the seamless way to import, clean, and organize customer data, announced the close of $2 million in pre-seed funding. The round was led by Afore Capital with additional financing from Founder Collective, Designer Fund, Liquid2, and Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund. Flatfile’s importer is embedded in web applications and combines machine learning and human feedback to manage the complex flow of turning spreadsheets into product data. The investment follows the Q1 2019 soft launch of Flatfile’s intuitive data importer and subsequent engagements with customers of every size, across multiple industries. Already, Flatfile has processed over 100 million rows of data imports for companies, such as Blackbaud, ClickUp, EmployUS, Clientbook, Inkit, HealthSpace, Jobber, and many others.

We also heard of a new M&A news item … Commvault (NASDAQ: CVLT), a leading provider of software for the management of data across cloud and on-premises environments, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire software-defined storage (SDS) innovator, Hedvig, for total consideration of $225 million, which includes the purchase price and ongoing employee retention. Gartner expects that, by 2023, software-defined storage (SDS) instantiations of vendor storage OSs running in the cloud will become the dominant method of building multi cloud storage infrastructures. This move to cloud and multi cloud environments, together with cloud native applications is driving competitive advantage for companies of all sizes; yet the acceleration of data fragmentation is negatively impacting business outcomes. This rapid data growth, generated from a variety of sources stored both within on-premises environments and in the cloud will continue to create significant governance, security and management challenges.

In the new customer wins department, we learned … Lexalytics®, a leader in “words-first” machine learning and artificial intelligence, announced that it is working with Biogen Japan LTD. to create a system to respond faster and more accurately to questions it receives from patients, the media, physicians and other constituents at its Medical Information Department (MID). The semi-custom application leverages the Lexalytics Pharmaceutical Industry Pack and combines machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) with natural language processing (NLP) to immediately understand what conditions, drugs, ailments or issues a constituent is calling about and deliver a proper response … Snow Software, a leader in technology intelligence solutions, announced that Informatica, the enterprise cloud data management leader, has selected the Snow platform to enable enhanced insight and manageability of their global IT operations. With Snow, Informatica is looking to gain unparalleled visibility across their technology landscape, enriching the everyday operations that drive intelligent digital disruption … Io-Tahoe, a pioneer in Smart Data Discovery and AI-Driven Data Catalog products, announced that Clearsense, a scalable data platform as a service built for healthcare, has chosen the smart data discovery platform to automatically discover and catalog relationships across immense amounts of medical and clinical data. Thereby helping healthcare organizations (HCOs) across the United States, to effectively manage clinical, operational and financial data.

In the new partnerships, alignments and collaborations category, we heard … Otonomo, a leading Automotive Data Service Platform, announced that it is collaborating with Microsoft to build services on top of Microsoft Azure and the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform. This will make it easier for OEMs to take advantage of Otonomo’s data services so they can deliver next-generation driving experiences with built-in data privacy protection. The Otonomo Platform securely ingests automotive data from OEMs, fleet operators, etc., then reshapes and enriches the data so application and service providers can use it to develop a host of new and innovative offerings that deliver value to consumers. The Otonomo ecosystem, with partners across twelve industries, provide a rich diversity of service offerings, including emergency response, mapping, on-demand fueling, parking, predictive maintenance, usage-based insurance, media measurement, in-vehicle package delivery, and dozens of smart city services. Through the collaboration with Microsoft, OEMs adopting the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform can easily plug their connected car data into Otonomo’s existing ecosystem to quickly roll out new connected car services. With a straightforward way to bring “services of the future” to today’s drivers, the collaboration will provide new value to OEMs, drivers and service providers alike … Qumulo, a leading provider of enterprise-proven hybrid cloud file storage, announced a partnership with axle ai, a leader in AI-driven media management software for video teams, to provide media and entertainment organizations with a complete solution for storing,managing, and automating search of their content. The partnership enables film and television studios, broadcasters, post-production houses, and corporate video production departments to leverage the companies’ intelligent hybrid cloud storage and powerful media management to accelerate media workflows, link remote teams, and simplify content creation processes. One recent customer, an LA-based post-production facility, found that it was able to fully leverage axle ai 2019 software on its Qumulo storage, with users searching for content from its Adobe Premiere Pro CC applications within hours of installing the software … Pluralsight (NASDAQ: PS), the enterprise technology skills platform, announced the release of a new cloud skill development initiative for cloud customers on the Pluralsight platform. The initiative includes the launch of a Skill IQ assessment for associate cloud engineers on Google Cloud Platform (GCP), as well as the release of new courses on topics such as data analytics, machine learning, kubernetes, and cloud infrastructure … TIBCO Software Inc., a leader in integration, API management, and analytics, announced a new integration with Snowflake, the data warehouse built for the cloud. This integration will benefit cloud-native enterprises leveraging TIBCO Spotfire® advanced data exploration and analytics capabilities to discover insights in the Snowflake Data Warehouse. The comprehensive solution empowers business analysts and data scientists managing some of the world’s largest data sets to deploy advanced analytics at scale, without performance degradation, and to drive better, more efficient decision-making … Baker Hughes, a GE company (NYSE:BHGE) and C3.ai announced the launch of BHC3 Reliability™, the first artificial intelligence (AI) software application developed by the BakerHughesC3.ai joint venture. Unveiled at BHGE’s annual digital conference, UNIFY2019, the now generally available application uses deep learning predictive models, natural language processing, and machine vision to continuously aggregate data from plant-wide sensor networks, enterprise systems, maintenance notes, and piping and instrumentation schematics. Using historical and real-time data from entire systems, the BHC3 Reliability™ machine learning models identify anomalous conditions that lead to equipment failure and process upsets. Application alerts enable proactive action by operators to reduce downtime and lost revenue. Applicable to operations across all sectors of the energy value chain, BHC3 Reliability’s™ system-of-systems approach scales to any number of assets and processes across offshore and onshore platforms, compressor stations, refineries, and petrochemical plants, reducing downtime and increasing productivity. The AI-enabled BHC3 Reliability™ application, powered by the BHC3 AI Suite, draws on BHGE’s domain expertise by augmenting application alerts with failure prevention recommendations and prescriptive actions … Spireon, the vehicle intelligence company, announced a strategic partnership with Snowflake, the data warehouse built for the cloud, which combines the power of data warehousing, the flexibility of big data platforms, and the elasticity of the cloud to support a “your data, no limits” approach to advanced analytics.

In people movement news we heard … Dremio, the data lake engine company, announced that Billy Bosworth, CEO of DataStax, has joined the company’s Board of Directors. Billy served as a member of the board of directors of Tableau for the last four years, leading up to the $15.7B acquisition by Salesforce. He is currently the CEO of DataStax, a privately held open-source database company based on Apache Cassandra, a position he has held since May of 2011. Under his leadership, DataStax has grown from a Silicon Valley startup to well over $100M in annual revenue.

We also received a comment about the recent power outage at an Amazon AWS data facility on August 31 that resulted in data loss for some customers, showing that storing data in the cloud does not mean you do not also need a backup:

“Migration to the cloud is not the magic  answer to all IT problems,” said Lamar Bailey, senior director of security research at Tripwire. “The products and services are still running on a computer, but it is not your computer. The same failures we see on premise can still happen in the cloud. The cloud environment should have solid processes and redundancy in place for failures, but they will still exist. Users should still take care to provide their own fail safes in case of emergency, such as backups and fail over environments in other cloud or on premise locations. Getting a refund or discount on services  because of a failure helps, but cannot make everything right for lost code and time.” 

And finally, we received a comment about the recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that LinkedIn cannot stop organizations from collecting the data available in users’ public profiles:

This ruling has been a long time coming and reaffirms the prior ruling made by the courts in this matter,” said Gary Read, CEO of Import.io. “It ultimately speaks to the openness and freedom of the web. When an individual uploads their data to LinkedIn, that individual can decide whether their data is public or private. If the individual decides that their data is public, it is not up to LinkedIn to unilaterally decide how and by whom it can be accessed. LinkedIn’s responsibility is to ensure that private data is kept private. This ruling addresses a bigger issue – that the web is an open resource and should not be controlled by a few large companies that decide how and by whom web sites can be accessed. The web is the world’s largest data source; data that can be used by researchers, businesses, students, governments and many others to find answers to problems that were previously impossible to answer. Do we really want to live in a world where a few large companies can control access to the world’s largest source of data ever assembled?

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