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“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 6/15/2020

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.

We wanted to inform our global audience of a new regular column that tracks technology use during this period of pandemic – BigData/COVID-10 News. We realize that many people see the novel coronavirus as a thing-of-the-past (even though 19 U.S. states are seeing increases in infection rates, and more than 1,000 Americans are dying of COVID-19 every day). We suggest you use “data” to shape your view of this on-going health crisis. Data helps make better informed decisions. For now, let’s take a look at some new funding news … CLARA analytics, a leading provider of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in the commercial insurance industry, announced that it closed $25 million in Series B funding, bringing its total funding to $36.5 million. The round was led by growth equity firm Aspen Capital Group with participation from Series A lead Oak HC/FT and additional investors. CLARA will use the funds to extend its product suite, attract critical industry talent, and expand its global reach … Directly, a leader in customer experience automation, today announced an additional $11 million in new funding, expanding the $20 million strategic investment announced in January, and bringing the total funding round to $31 million. New investors Triangle Peak Partners and Toba Capital join previously announced investors Samsung NEXT, Industry Ventures, Microsoft’s M12 Ventures, True Ventures, Costanoa Ventures and Northgate in the round … Brytlyt, provider of the fast data analytics and visualisation technology, has raised $4 million in Series A funding from global technology investor Amadeus Capital Partners and Finch Capital. Brytlyt uses its patent-pending software and artificial intelligence (AI), combined with GPUs, to derive insights 1,000 times faster than legacy systems … Couchbase, the creator of the enterprise-class, multicloud to edge NoSQL database, announced that it has completed a $105 million all-equity Series G round of fundraising.  The latest funding round, led by GPI Capital, also included oversubscribed participation from existing investors Accel, Sorenson Capital, North Bridge Venture Partners, Glynn Capital, Adams Street Partners, and Mayfield.  Proceeds from this financing will be used to expand product development and global go-to-market capabilities … Ahana, the Presto-based analytics company, announced it has raised $2.25 million in funding led by GV (formerly Google Ventures) along with participation from Leslie Ventures and other angel investors. Additionally, Ahana has joined the Linux Foundation’s Presto Foundation. Ahana will use the funding to expand its technical team and deliver Presto-based analytics products. Founded during the Coronavirus pandemic, Ahana is a remote from the start company … jSonar announced it has closed a $50 million investment from Goldman Sachs in the company’s first institutional round of funding as it rapidly accelerates the adoption of the first truly comprehensive database security solution. As part of the transaction, David Campbell, a Managing Director in the Merchant Banking Division at Goldman Sachs and investor in other successful enterprise security ventures including CyberArk and Very Good Security, will join the Board … Domino Data Lab, provider of the open, industry-leading enterprise data science management platform, announced its latest funding round of $43M led by Highland Capital Partners which brings the total amount raised to $128M. Dell Technologies Capital, the investment arm of a longtime customer participated … Yugabyte, a leader in open source distributed SQL databases, announced that it has raised $30 million in an oversubscribed Series B round. The round, led by 8VC, also includes participation from strategic investor, Wipro Ventures, and existing investors, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Dell Technologies Capital. The round brings the company’s total funding to $55 million … RudderStack, which provides the first open source alternative to traditional Customer Data Platforms, announced today it has raised a $5M seed round led by S28 Capital with additional participation from Salil Deshpande (Uncorrelated Ventures) and Florian Leibert (468 Capital). The funding will be used to accelerate product development and rollout to larger enterprises. RudderStack also announced the acquisition of data integration company Blendo, which brought additional IP and expertise to the RudderStack team 

In the new customer wins category, we learned … Using the OmniSci accelerated analytics platform, location intelligence leader Skyhook is assisting the effort, helping businesses and public agencies combine mobility data with data from a myriad of other sources to better understand population movement as the reopening process is implemented. Skyhook operates a large independent location network consisting of 5.1 billion geolocated Wi-Fi hotspots, 200 million cell towers and a global portfolio of actionable venues. By aggregating data that is generated by this network together with other data sources and then analyzing it through the OmniSci platform, Skyhook creates mobility indexes that anonymously measure itinerancy (how much devices move around) and endemism (how local a population remains). These measures are critical factors in determining how effective policies are at keeping people distant, and therefore how quickly parts of the country can reopen … GigaSpaces, the provider of InsightEdge, the fast in-memory real-time analytics and data processing platform, announced that Groupe PSA in partnership with Capgemini, has successfully launched its digital application to calculate in real-time, the CO2 emissions of each personalized car configuration to meet the WLTP (world harmonized light-duty vehicles test procedure) standard. The solution, powered by GigaSpaces InsightEdge, delivers a 15-19 milliseconds query and analytics response time handling up to 95.2% of calculation requests without accessing the mainframe.  Infrastructure footprint was reduced by a factor of 4-6X while scale was increased by 20X. The solution was developed and deployed in production in 12 weeks. Groupe PSA is the second largest car manufacturer in Europe, manufacturing Peugeot, Citroen and other brands, with sales of 3.5 million vehicles in 2019.

We also heard of a number of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Matillion, a leading provider of data transformation for cloud data warehouses (CDWs), and HVR, a leading independent provider of cloud enterprise data replication software, launched a joint solution that enables real-time data replication and data transformation for the cloud, empowering enterprises with real-time analytics … Anaconda, Inc.​, provider of a leading Python data science platform, and IBM Watson (NYSE: ​IBM​) announced a new collaboration to help simplify enterprise adoption of AI open-source technologies. By working together, the two companies plan to help fuel innovation and address the AI and data science skills gap that many enterprises face today … Diveplane, the company keeping the humanity in artificial intelligence (AI), announced a partnership with UK-based DWCC, a leading provider of international sales enablement services, to distribute Diveplane’s AI solutions at a global scale … SDL (LSE: SDL), a intelligent language and content company, announced it has entered into a technical partnership with DRUID, specialists in conversational AI, to launch multi-lingual virtual assistants for enterprise organizations that enable real-time communication through chatbots … OmniSci, a pioneer in accelerated analytics, announced partnerships with SafeGraph, a leading provider of point of interest (POI) data, and Veraset, a leading provider of population movement data, in a combined solution that gives users unparalleled insight into population movement at millions of public and commercial locations. OmniSci’s platform, capable of interrogating and graphically representing billions of rows of data in milliseconds, is a powerful analytics vehicle for the data from SafeGraph and Veraset. SafeGraph is considered the leading source of truth for POI data, business listings, and visitor foot-traffic insights. It offers not only datasets that encompass base information about points of interest, but also provides spatial hierarchy metadata, as well as demographic and visitation data aggregations. Veraset maintains the leading population movement dataset, trusted by data science teams seeking to understand how people move across cities and countries. Veraset offers granular population movement data and unaggregated visitation data … Moogsoft, a pioneer and leading provider of artificial intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) and World Wide Technology (WWT), a global technology solution provider, announced they have partnered to deliver clients a joint solution that allows IT operations and DevOps teams to generate increased business value and more effectively ensure digital service uptime from anywhere. This collaboration enables WWT’s market-leading AIOps practice to deliver enterprises virtualized Network Operations Centers (NOC) for increased productivity, reduced costs and accelerated innovation across their digital services. Under the partnership, WWT will leverage the Moogsoft AIOps Platform with clients to ingest data from multiple sources—including metrics, alerts, traces & logs—as well as patented Moogsoft algorithms and collaboration tools to proactively understand incidents and their root cause, prevent outages and minimize downtime … Hybrid cloud data warehouse company Yellowbrick Data announced a strategic partnership with analytics software and services leader SAS to develop a customer-driven product roadmap and build integrated solutions for data analytics. The Yellowbrick/SAS partnership will enable customers to leverage their investment in SAS® technology while benefiting from Yellowbrick’s modern hybrid cloud data warehouse, which offers unparalleled price/performance and scale, unique flexibility to run workloads in a data center and/or major public cloud, and predictable pricing—bringing deeper, richer insights and more agility to their organizations. The collaboration seeks to provide enterprise customers with faster, more detailed business insights from their data. Its intent is to integrate products and leverage their combined strengths with minimal disruption to existing data environments. Organizations will be able to deploy the joint solutions that ultimately result from this partnership across most hybrid cloud computing environments, including on-premises and public cloud platforms. 

In people movement news we heard … Trifacta, a leader in data preparation, announced that it has further strengthened its executive team with the appointment of four executives that bring a wealth of SaaS experience to the organization. The appointments of Paul Staelin as Chief Customer Officer, Katie Murphy as Vice President of HR, Ash Vijay as Vice President of Cloud Ecosystems and Andrew Kane as Vice President of Customer Success bring a tremendous amount of industry knowledge to Trifacta as it continues to capitalize on the growing market demand for modern data preparation driven by the accelerated shift of analytics workloads to the cloud … Aperity, Inc., an innovative provider of data management and analytic solutions for supply chain partners, announced that Beverage Alcohol industry veteran Mario Gutierrez has joined the team as Vice President of Business Development, responsible for developing the client growth strategy in Aperity’s growing Beverage Alcohol vertical … Yugabyte, a leader in open source distributed SQL databases, announced the appointment of Bill Cook as Chief Executive Officer. Kannan Muthukkaruppan, co-founder of Yugabyte and founding CEO, takes the role of President, Product Development and will continue to oversee development for the company’s cloud native, open source, distributed SQL database, YugabyteDB, and its commercial products … Algolia, a leading Search and Discovery solution, announced the appointment of Bernadette Nixon as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Nixon most recently served as CEO at Alfresco, where she led the open source content services provider in redefining its go-to-market strategy, launching strategic new products and building a world-class team to scale the company’s growth. Nixon will leverage this experience to guide Algolia through its next phase of growth, as it continues its mission to empower every company to deliver delightful and inspiring search and discovery experiences that drive business results. Nicolas Dessaigne, Algolia’s co-founder, will transition from the role of CEO and continue to serve as a board member.

In M&A news we learned … Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and DataRobot announced that DataRobot has acquired BCG’s SOURCE AI technology and that both organizations have entered into a strategic partnership. This relationship between a global consulting firm and an artificial intelligence (AI) solution provider is an industry first that combines proprietary IP with leading consulting services, thus providing both the human expertise and the technical know-how needed to deliver optimal, continuous value from AI.

We received a commentary from Dr. Soudip Roy Chowdhury, Founder & CEO, Eugenie.ai about rapidly rising water that recently overtook dams and forced the evacuation of about 10,000 people in central Michigan. Eugenie.ai is a machine learning-enabled solution that detects critical anomalies and sends alerts before disturbances develop into damage by using machine sensors and SCADA systems that stream real-time IoT data:

“Continuous evaluation and monitoring of dams is necessary for the health and safety of the people who depend on such mechanical structures. Scheduled maintenance and inspection are only possible on areas and surfaces visible to human eyes. Few anomalies such as erosion within the intimate areas of a dam, liquefaction of foundation, etc. require deeper monitoring processes that are not only expensive but also need specific expertise. Any deviation on health parameters such as wall deflection, rate of water flow, seepage, turbidity, temperature, vibration, stress and strain can lead to a potential breakdown. Early detection of such potential failures can be efficiently monitored via IoT sensors in real-time. We suggest a three-step process – connect, track, diagnose and enable. This can help to digitally transform the operation and maintenance of a dam using data from IoT sensors. Along with that, the possibility of an automated alert engine can then notify the operation and maintenance team to pro-actively act on such insights to preempt any operational disaster before it occurs.”

And finally, we received a commentary from Suraj Amonkar, Fellow – AI @ Scale, Machine Vision and Conversational AI at Fractal about Microsoft’s announcement that it’s built one of the top 5 supercomputers in the world designed specifically for OpenAI. The supercomputer will be used to train OpenAI’s own AI models, as the company works to create AI that is capable of outperforming humans:

“Microsoft’s new supercomputer is great news for proponents of AI. There is no doubt that AI is one of the most transformative technologies today and has the potential to do the unimaginable. This supercomputer built by Microsoft is indeed a great way forward in developing artificial general intelligence (AGI), another term for autonomous computers that can see the world and solve tasks the same way humans do, so that human intelligence can be freed from the drudgery of monotonous work and committed to the pursuit of imagination and creative rewards. This will also serve as a great platform that developers and other organizations can build on to create large AI models and the infrastructure needed to train them. What remains to be seen is how well it is able to deliver, but if it does, the world can expect massive advancements in solving looming challenges like climate change, medical research, education, healthcare and other pressing challenges humanity is facing today.”

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