“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 11/16/2020

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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 get started with some new M&A news … Intel announced it will acquire SigOpt, a San Francisco-based provider of a leading platform for the optimization of artificial intelligence (AI) software models at scale. SigOpt’s AI software technologies deliver productivity and performance gains across hardware and software parameters, use cases and workloads in deep learning, machine learning and data analytics. Intel plans to use SigOpt’s software technologies across Intel’s AI hardware products to help accelerate, amplify and scale Intel’s AI software solution offerings to developers … Ontrak, Inc (NASDAQ: OTRK), a leading AI-powered and telehealth-enabled, virtualized healthcare company, announced that it has acquired LifeDojo Inc, a comprehensive, science-backed behavior change platform. LifeDojo is a platform that makes transformative life changes possible for members in over 16 countries. Supported by decades of public health research, the LifeDojo approach to member-centric behavior change delivers lasting health improvement outcomes, high enrollment, and better engagement than traditional programs. Clients include Fortune 500 companies and high-tech, high-growth organizations who use LifeDojo’s 32 behavior change modules … TELUS International, a digital customer experience (CX) innovator that designs, builds and delivers next-generation solutions for global and disruptive brands, announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Lionbridge AI, a market-leading global provider of crowd-based training data and annotation platform solutions used in the development of AI algorithms to power machine learning. Lionbridge AI collects and annotates data for the development and training of artificial intelligence models, delivering solutions in more than 300 languages and dialects, enhancing TELUS International’s CX offerings. 

In new funding news we heard … Canvass Analytics Inc., a leader in industrial AI, has closed US$6.5 million in Series A funding. The funding round was led by Yamaha Motor Ventures and Laboratory Silicon Valley, Inc. (Yamaha Motor Ventures) the strategic business development and investment arm of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd, with participation from existing investors Real Ventures, BDC, EDC, and Viaduct Ventures, bringing the total investment in Canvass to date to US$13 million. The funding will be used to aggressively expand Canvass’s go-to-market efforts, accelerate product development, and support the company’s growing customer base of large global enterprises in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific markets … Skan, the AI-enabled Process Discovery and Operational Intelligence Company, announced the close of a $14 million Series A funding round to strengthen its product platform and scale operations. Global venture capital firm Cathay Innovation led the new investment. Other investors participating in the round include Citi Ventures and existing investors, Zetta Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, Plug and Play Ventures, and Firebolt Ventures. Simon Wu of Cathay Innovation will join the board of directors … Panoply, the all-in-one cloud data platform, announced an additional $10 million investment from Ibex Investors and C5 Capital, bringing the total amount raised to $24 million … Rockset, the real-time indexing database company, announced it has raised $40 million in Series B funding, bringing the total amount raised to $61.5 million. Sequoia led the oversubscribed round with participation from Greylock, after the two leading venture capital firms co-led the Series A and seed. The funding will be used to grow the team to accelerate product innovation and expand go-to-market efforts … Deci, the deep learning company dedicated to transforming the AI lifecycle, announced it has raised $9.1 million in a seed round led by Israel-based VC firm Emerge and global VC fund Square Peg. The company is building an AI-based platform that can automatically craft robust, scalable, and efficient deep neural network solutions ready for production at scale. Deci aims to help AI practitioners build the next generation of deep learning models … Diveplane, the company keeping the humanity in artificial intelligence (AI), announced that it has secured additional financing from Calibrate Ventures (“Calibrate”). The proceeds will be used to accelerate development of the company’s cutting-edge artificial intelligence and machine learning solutions, strengthen its position within the market by carrying out groundbreaking research and expand the team to support the growth of the business … Eightfold AI announced that it has raised a $125M Series D funding round. The funds will be used to expand and scale Eightfold’s leading AI-powered Talent Intelligence Platform, a single solution for managing the entire talent lifecycle. Using a single platform to address this critical area stands in direct contrast to the disjointed point solutions commonly found in the talent management space. As a direct result of Eightfold’s innovative vision and dedication, the company is now valued at $1 billion and works with customers across 110 countries, 17 industries and 13 languages. The funding round is led by General Catalyst and also includes investors from previous rounds, including Capital One Ventures, Foundation Capital, IVP and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Total funding raised to date by Eightfold AI is more than $180 million. Eightfold has more than quadrupled its sales since the last round of equity funding in April 2019. Eightfold AI’s customers, leading companies embracing this global talent transformation, include AirAsia, Bayer, Capital One and Micron.

In people movement news we learned … Infinidat, a leading independent provider of enterprise-class storage solutions, announced that Shahar Bar-Or joins the company as Chief Product Officer and General Manager of its Israeli operations. Reporting to the Chairman of the Board, Boaz Chalamish, Bar-Or will be responsible for R&D, quality assurance/validation, product innovations as well as operations and IT … Domino Data Lab, provider of the leading open enterprise data science management platform trusted by over 20% of the Fortune 100, announced four additions to its senior leadership team. These leaders include Chris Dury as SVP of product, Joseph Rozenfeld as SVP of engineering, Jason McClelland as chief marketing officer and John Brunn as chief information security officer amid broad expansion across the company … Algolia, a leading Search and Discovery platform, announced three additions to its executive team: Michelle Adams as Chief Revenue Officer, Jim Schattin as Chief Customer Officer, and Piyush Patel as Chief Strategic Business Development Officer. These leaders will work together to plan and execute on the company’s next phase of growth in the Search and Discovery market.

In the new partnerships, alignments and collaborations department we have … Qlik® announced an expansion of its strategic partnership with Databricks through Qlik’s integration with the newly launched SQL Analytics capability. The integration is part of an expanded partnership that already includes integration with Qlik’s data integration platform. Databricks customers can now leverage the full capabilities of Qlik’s end-to-end data integration and analytics platform with Databricks’ Lakehouse architecture to increase the use and value of all the data residing in their data lake … Immuta, the automated data governance company, announced a strategic partnership with Starburst, the Presto Company, to allow organizations to unlock sensitive data by automating data access control, security, and privacy protection. Joint customers using Immuta and Starburst benefit from faster, safer, more cost-effective analytics and data science initiatives that deliver more value from more data — even the most sensitive … Narrative, the enterprise data streaming company, announced a new partnership with AnalyticsIQ, enabling B2B and B2C marketing and sales teams to access AnalyticsIQ’s 360-degree view of an individual – both as a consumer and a professional on the Narrative Data Streaming Platform. The partnership announcement underscores the value that Narrative brings to the data acquisition and data monetization market by enabling fast, transparent and privacy-compliant access to unique data without the need for a data broker … LF AI Foundation (LF AI), the organization building an ecosystem to enable and sustain open source innovation in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL), and ODPi, a nonprofit organization accelerating the open ecosystem of big data solutions, announced they will come together under the new LF AI & Data Foundation. The LF AI & Data Foundation will build and support an open community and a growing ecosystem of open source AI, data and analytics projects, by accelerating development and innovation, enabling collaboration and the creation of new opportunities for all the members of the community.

As far as new customer wins, we learned … DataRobot, a leader in enterprise AI, announced that the U.S. Army, in partnership with the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence (JAIC) and the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), has selected DataRobot’s enterprise AI platform to resolve complex problems with Department of Defense (DoD) financial data. The Army is currently leveraging automation and technology like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to resolve a range of financial errors and process financial data for audit requirements. The systems are not set up to manage complex problems that do not fit into a well-defined workflow, or what they call “unmatched transactions.” While unmatched transactions only represent less than one percent of the DoD’s financial transactions, they translate into billions of dollars in financial activity that delays the Army’s ability to optimize funding. The JAIC tapped DIU to curate and identify potential solutions to solve this problem, with more than 50 vendors applying for two awards. In partnership with Vertosoft, DataRobot’s sophisticated enterprise AI platform was selected to categorize the unmatched transactions. The goal of the project is to integrate DataRobot’s technology with existing RPA software to demonstrate how advanced machine learning can save the DoD both time and money … Machine learning (ML) software innovator Mipsology and design and development company OKI IDS Co., Ltd. (OKI IDS) signed an agreement on October 20 to join forces on hardware solutions for the Japanese high-speed image processing AI market. OKI IDS will leverage Mipsology’s best-in-class Zebra ML inference accelerator for application designs targeting the fast-growing ML needs in the Japanese market. Japanese corporations are embracing the revolution of AI while wanting to guarantee the high quality and high performance of their products across all markets, including automotive, industrial robotics, smart cities, medical applications, and video monitoring … MariaDB®Corporation announced that financial services company Financial Network, Inc. (FNI) has chosen MariaDB SkySQL as its cloud database running on Google Cloud Platform (GCP). FNI made the move to MariaDB to escape the barriers to innovation they encountered with Oracle. With MariaDB, FNI was able to expand its product offering to bring additional value to its customers. MariaDB not only supported FNI’s requirements for security, scalability and high availability, its Oracle compatibility features aided in its migration. Now completely free from Oracle, FNI is expanding its MariaDB footprint with SkySQL to reduce data center costs and to realize the benefits of cloud database services from the source, the same experts building the database … Hybrid cloud data warehouse company Yellowbrick Data announced it has been selected by BMW Group Financial Services to improve the group’s analytics performance and capabilities. BMW Group Financial Services provides finance and leasing options for BMW Group automobiles and motorcycles for retail and commercial customers and offers customers selected insurance and banking products. Yellowbrick will help improve the speed and quality of insights delivered from the BMW Group Financial Services large database, ultimately delivering customers faster finance and leasing answers, finance packages tailored for customers’ unique needs, and a superior customer experience … Yewno, a leading provider of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, has announced that it will be providing AI based information analysis capabilities to Citi.  Using Yewno’s patented knowledge graph, Citi will be able to extract signals from unstructured text, which is currently a challenging and time-consuming task.  Citi will use Yewno’s AI solutions in its Citi Global Data Insights (CGDI) unit, the data science team within Global Insights at Citigroup, and in its independent Citi Research unit.

We also heard that MemSQL, The Database of NowTM for operational analytics and cloud-native applications, announced a name change. The company is now known as SingleStore, which better describes the organization’s expansive value proposition. 

And finally, we wanted to share a take on AMD’s intended acquisition of Xilinx announced recently:

“AMD’s intent to acquire Xilinx is a bold move that I think makes sense and caps off an incredible run by AMD,” commented industry analyst Patrick Moorhead. “I believe AMD will continue to organically grow with or without this acquisition, as hopefully evidenced by its monster Q3, its upward guide, and roadmap. I do think AMD has a brighter, long-term future with Xilinx as it creates a larger entity that is more diversified across different markets and products while leveraging similar technologies. While I was more excited by its long-term possibilities, I am now equally impressed by its day one accretion and look forward to getting more details on its short-term leverage.”

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