“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 12/16/2020

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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.

So much happening as we approach the end of 2020! Let’s begin with some new funding news … DarwinAI, the explainable AI company located in Waterloo, Canada, announced an investment round led by Honeywell Ventures with participation from ACVC Partners, REDDS Capital, existing investors and numerous angels. The investment extends the capital raised through a seed round raised from Obvious Ventures and Inovia Capital … Truera, which provides a Model Intelligence platform, announced that on the heels of its successful launch out of stealth in August, it has closed $12M in Series A funding led by Wing VC with participation from returning investors Conversion Capital and Greylock and new investors Data Community Fund, B Capital Group via the firm’s Ascent Fund, and Harpoon Ventures. This brings Truera’s total funding to date to $17.3M … Bionic, the application intelligence company, emerged from stealth with $17 million in funding and an innovative platform that gives enterprises the ability to understand and control the chaos created by the onslaught of application changes pushed to production every day. Bionic is already helping IT, operations, and security teams at global financial services and technology companies operate and protect applications more efficiently than ever before, doing in minutes what previously took days or weeks … DataRobot, a leading enterprise AI platform, announced a key strategic investment from and expanded partnership with Snowflake. Salesforce Ventures and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) also made strategic investments in the company. These investments come as DataRobot expands the Series F round of financing led by Altimeter to $320 million at a $2.8 billion valuation … Technology to avoid costly repairs and foresee critical equipment breakdowns for heavy-duty vehicles aims to go mainstream in Québec thanks to government support of a multi-phase innovation initiative. Specializing in the deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) in industry, the Montreal-region tech start-up Zetane Systems announced funding to establish AI-powered predictive maintenance solutions with the defence contractor, Rheinmetall Canada, headquartered in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. Investissement Québec (IQ) of the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (MEI) contributed $350,000 in non-refundable financing–accounting for half the project costs–to support the first phase of the innovation project … SingleStore, The Database of NowTM, announced $80 million in new funding and a partnership with advanced analytics leader SAS. Insight Partners led the Series E round,  with participation from new financial investor Dell Technologies Capital and equity participation from Hercules Capital. Existing investors Accel, Anchorage, Glynn Capital, GV and Rev IV also participated … Sourcegraph, a leader in Universal Code Search, announced that it has secured $50 million in Series C funding led by Sequoia Capital. Sourcegraph will use the new funds to address the increasing demand for Universal Code Search, empowering developers to better manage the challenges of Big Code. Sourcegraph also announced that Andrew Reed, partner at Sequoia, has joined the company’s Board of Directors … Jitsu announced the launch of their open-source data integration and event collection service and $2M in Seed funding, led by Costanoa Ventures with participation from YCombinator, The House Fund, and SignalFire. Jitsu addresses the needs of companies wanting to collect their customer and app data without having to send it to a third party in a time when self hosting, data security, and privacy are taking center stage … Materialize, the streaming SQL database company, announced that it has raised $40 million in funding that will be used to grow its engineering team, prepare the business for growth and extend product rollout. Bucky Moore of Kleiner Perkins led a $32 million Series B round. Lightspeed Venture Partners also participated in the B round after Ravi Mhatre led the Series A investment in 2019. Additional investors include executives from Cockroach Labs, Datadog and Rubrik … Firebolt, the fast cloud data warehouse, purpose-built for high performance analytics, unveiled a new class of cloud data warehouse as a service and announced $37 million of financing. Firebolt delivers the fastest analytics performance  – up to 182 times faster than other data warehouses – for the most challenging data requirements at the multi-terabyte and petabyte scale, enabling higher performance with fewer cloud resources. Firebolt, thanks to its groundbreaking technology, allows companies to analyze much larger volumes of data than previously possible. This dramatically improves the ROI of collecting data and enables a myriad of new data-driven use cases with real business impact … CIPIO co-founders Growson Edwards (Ex-MicroPact CCO), Manoj Kumar Goyal (Ex-Marketo CPO and Ex-Oracle GVP), and Dharmesh Trivedi (Ex-Motionsoft SVP) announced the completion of their pre-seed round of $1.25M, led by DX.Partners, a pre-seed Venture Studio, with participation from the co-founders and other angel investors … Harbr, the enterprise data exchange company, announced a $38.5M Series A investment round co-led by new investors Dawn Capital and Tiger Global Management. Previous investors Mike Chalfen, Boldstart Ventures, Crane Venture Partners, Backed and Seedcamp also participated, as did UiPath founder and CEO, Daniel Dines, and head of strategy, Brandon Deer. This new funding increases Harbr’s total investment to date to more than $50M … PingCAP, the team behind TiDB, the industry-leading distributed SQL database, announced the closing of $270 million in Series D funding. The funding was jointly led by GGV Capital, Access Technology Ventures, Anatole Investment, Jeneration Capital, and 5Y Capital (formerly known as Morningside Venture Capital). Coatue, Bertelsmann Asia Investment Fund (BAI), FutureX Capital, Kunlun Capital, Trustbridge Partners, and existing investors Matrix Partners China and Yunqi Partners also participated in this round … – Hasty, a leading provider of next-gen annotation tools for vision AI practitioners, announced it has raised $3.7 million in seed funding led by Shasta Ventures alongside coparion and iRobot Ventures. The company will use the funds to continue to accelerate product development and expand its customer base across Europe and North America … BigID, a leader in data discovery and intelligence for privacy, protection and perspective, today announced a $70M million series D financing, bringing the valuation to over $1 Billion. The new investment is the third in a little over a year. The transaction comprised both primary and secondary shares. The latest investment was led by Salesforce Ventures and Tiger Global and joined by Glynn Capital, with participation from existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Scale Venture Partners, and Boldstart Ventures. This round will help accelerate BigID’s investment in data intelligence for privacy, protection and perspective, further expand sales and marketing, and deliver new applications for actioning data in data privacy, security and governance … ChaosSearch, whose next generation data platform for analytics delivers insights at scale for enterprise customers worldwide, announced it has closed a $40 million Series B funding round co-led by Stripes and Moore Strategic Ventures. This funding comes at the conclusion of a record-breaking 2020 in which the company saw triple digit sales growth, while rapidly expanding its enterprise customer base in the US and Europe.  The cash infusion will help ChaosSearch capitalize on the worldwide demand for its solution, which addresses the vexing time, cost and complexity problems that enterprises face in managing today’s data analytics environment. 

In new M&A activity we heard … NTT DATA Services, a global digital business and IT services leader, has entered an agreement to acquire Hashmap, adding deep technical expertise with modern data platforms to support analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Together, the companies will help clients gain insights from their cloud data and accelerate digital enablement. Hashmap is a Snowflake Premier Partner and has partnerships with Databricks and several other leading cloud, data and technology providers. These partnerships, together with NTT DATA’s existing relationships with companies like Snowflake and Dataiku, will greatly expand its ability to accelerate clients’ digital transformation journeys and establish a trusted data foundation to operationalize and scale AI … New Relic, Inc. (NYSE: NEWR), a leader in observability, announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Pixie Labs, a next generation machine intelligence observability solution for developers using Kubernetes. Pixie dramatically simplifies the process of troubleshooting and live debugging applications in Kubernetes environments by providing instant access to telemetry data without the need to manually add instrumentation to the code. The anticipated addition of Pixie will expand New Relic’s opportunity to serve the rapidly growing Kubernetes market, and drive the acceleration of observability across organizations of every size … West Monroe, a national business and technology consulting firm, announced it has acquired Two Six Capital, a San Francisco-based, technology-enabled firm that pioneered data science for private equity. Founded in 2013, Two Six Capital leverages proprietary technology—powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning—to advise private equity firms with one primary objective: understand and project the drivers of revenue. The company works closely with private equity deal teams, corporate boards, management teams, and operating partners across the deal lifecycle to construct financial models with precision leveraging the power of the cloud, which leads to increased speed of analysis and fewer errors for investment decisions. The acquisition strengthens West Monroe’s position as a market leader in private equity advisory … IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced a definitive agreement to acquire Instana, an application performance monitoring and observability company. The acquisition will help businesses better manage the complexity of modern applications that span the hybrid cloud landscape. The news further advances IBM’s Hybrid Cloud and AI strategy and strengthens its AI-powered automation capabilities. Financial details were not disclosed.

We also learned of a number of new partnerships, alignments, and collaborations … Accenture (NYSE: ACN) collaborated with CereProc, a text-to-speech technology provider, to create Sam, the comprehensive non-binary voice solution for the fast-growing global digital assistant market. To encourage adoption, the companies have released all the materials used to generate the voice to the Open Source community … Qlik® announced today that it has expanded its relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS) with the recent debut of Qlik Sense Enterprise SaaS in AWS Marketplace. AWS customers can now seamlessly and easily purchase Qlik’s modern data analytics platform, with Qlik’s unique associative engine and sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI), to enable enterprise-wide analytics in the cloud leveraging AWS … Dedicated voice specialist Red Box and leading automatic speech recognition (ASR) vendor Deepgram announced a partnership that will provide enterprises with open access to and control of high-quality unstructured and structured audio data, and the freedom to leverage that data in any application they choose. Conversa, the new and first truly open, microservices-based enterprise voice platform from Red Box, provides real-time, high quality audio capture. With state-of-the-art, deep learning and customizable speech recognition capabilities, Deepgram transforms this real-time audio stream into highly accurate transcripts for enterprises to leverage in AI, analytics and compliance solutions … With global data privacy regulations tightening every day,  Narrative, the enterprise data streaming company, announced they are partnering with Killi, a global leader in data and consumer privacy, to bring first-party, compliant data sets to customers committed to the innovative and ethical use of personal data sets. The partnership will give customers direct access via the Narrative data streaming platform to Killi’s Fair-Trade DataTM solution containing comprehensive consumer-approved personal information. As part of its Fair-Trade Data solution, Killi provides consumers direct compensation via a market-first weekly paycheck for the use of the personal data they are willing to share with marketers … Cognite, a global industrial AI software company and Wood, a global engineering and consulting company, have agreed to a strategic partnership that will accelerate industrial transformation by creating AI solutions that enable more connected, sustainable and data-driven operations for heavy-asset, infrastructure and industrial clients. The collaboration plays to the strengths of both companies to deliver value faster and at scale, combining Cognite’s flagship product, Cognite Data Fusion with Wood’s multi-sector domain knowledge, data extraction and technology integration expertise, which is proven to optimize productivity and performance … Emedgene, a leading precision medicine intelligence company, announces a non-exclusive partnership with Illumina, Inc. and the integration of automated interpretation into Illumina’s TruSight™ Software Suite for rare genetic diseases. Emedgene’s Clinical Rare Disease application is one of a portfolio of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered applications for high-throughput genomic interpretation across clinical and research use cases … Beyond Limits, an industrial and enterprise-grade AI technology company built for the most demanding sectors, today announced it is working with NVIDIA to advance its initiative for bringing digital transformation to the energy sector. Beyond Limits will collaborate with NVIDIA experts on joint go-to-market strategies for Beyond Limits’ products and solutions in the energy sector. The company will also take advantage of NVIDIA technical support and GPU-optimized AI software such as containers, models and application frameworks from the NVIDIA NGC catalog to improve the performance and efficiency of its software development cycle.

In the new customer wins category, we learned … Iguazio, developers of the Data Science Platform built for production and real-time machine learning (ML) applications, announced that it is working with the Sheba Medical Center’s ARC innovation complex to deliver real-time AI across a variety of clinical and logistical use cases in order to improve COVID-19 patient treatment  … Matillion, a leading provider of data transformation for cloud data warehouses (CDWs) announced that Uberflip has deployed Matillion ETL for Snowflake. By implementing cloud-native ETL, Uberflip reduced data preparation time from five weeks to just one day helping their product, marketing, and sales teams to rapidly deliver better business value for customers. Matillion ETL delivered repeatable and scalable processes and models for data orchestration, and decreased required development time, freeing up valuable engineering resources … GrammaTech, a leading provider of software application security testing research and solutions, announced a contract with DARPA to research the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) techniques for automating the design, testing and implementation of software applications. The contributions made by GrammaTech will be made available as part of an open source project called MnemosyneTigerGraph, the scalable graph database for the enterprise, announced that NewDay, a leading specialist financial services provider and one of the largest issuers of credit cards in the UK, will use TigerGraph’s advanced graph analytics to prevent and preempt financial fraud. NewDay, with TigerGraph, will transform how the company accesses and views potential customer data. NewDay specialists will now be empowered to identify and prevent fraudsters from joining their network by checking data against known and new fraud syndicates. NewDay, whose revenues exceed $1B, counts eight million customers on its growing roster, across some of the UK’s best-known credit cards and some of the largest online retailers … GigaSpaces, a leading provider of in-memory computing platforms that drive digital transformation, announced that CLSA, Asia’s leading capital markets and investment group, has deployed GigaSpaces In-Memory Computing Platform for algorithmic trade execution and for all client and exchange-facing management systems.  GigaSpaces InsightEdge Smart Operational Data Store (ODS), a Digital Integration Hub (DIH), reduces algorithmic trading response time and manages 3-4 million transactions per day worth billions of US dollars that are executed in over 12 countries. Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Hong Kong, CLSA operates from 22 cities across Asia, Australia, the Americas and Europe, with access to major Stock Exchanges and the bulk of alternative liquidity venues, providing truly global execution services to clients … Kinetica, the streaming data warehouse that combines historical and streaming data analysis with powerful location intelligence and AI, announced a five-year contract with the Air Force to deliver a streaming data warehouse for the NORAD and USNORTHCOM Pathfinder program that will tie independent systems together across air, land, sea, space, and cyber domains, creating a fused operational picture. This contract transitions and expands on capabilities demonstrated during a one-year prototyping effort with NORAD and USNORTHCOM and DIU, the Department of Defense organization that exclusively works with commercial companies to solve national security challenges … With a keen desire to get back on the road, travelers are cautiously resuming to search for and book flights and hotels. But travel players are facing a challenging new reality – one where performance, flexible operations and personalized service are quickly taking on a whole new meaning in order to remain relevant. To this end, Amadeus has extended its partnership with Couchbase, the creator of the enterprise-class, multi-cloud to edge NoSQL database. The new multi-year agreement will see Amadeus using Couchbase to dynamically scale its levels of service and continue to deploy applications quickly. Couchbase’s versatile and cloud-agnostic database already powers a number of Amadeus applications across search, shopping and merchandising for airline and hotel customers, as well as Traveler-DNA (former Customer Experience Management) – and Amadeus will be adding more in line with evolving industry needs … Vendor-neutral technology consortium, The Open Group, and the University of York announced a partnership with leading European research organizations, software developers, and industrial big data users. The collaboration will aim to make hybrid big data accessible and easy to integrate within new applications and services through developing and evolving next generation technologies. The Open Group and the University of York will coordinate and lead The Polyglot and Hybrid Persistence Architectures for Big Data Analytics (TYPHON) project. With support from the European Union, the project has already invested €4.5 million (US$5.3 million) into advanced technology development. This funding has enabled the rapid creation of applications that bridge the many formats and architectures used to store data today. 

In people movement news we have … Dotmatics Ltd, a scientific informatics software and services company that is driving the automation of laboratory data workflows for scientific discovery and innovation research, announced the appointment of Matt Burnett as Chief Technology Officer (CTO).  In this role, Matt will work as part of the senior management team taking ownership of the company’s technical roadmap, global cloud and IT operations, and technology execution … Hazelcast, a leading open source in-memory computing platform, announced the appointment and promotion of key executives to its leadership team. Among the new hires are Dave Salverson, chief financial officer (CFO), and Gregg Holzrichter, chief marketing officer (CMO). Additionally, Hazelcast is appointing David Brimley to chief product officer, while promoting John DesJardins to chief technology officer (CTO) and Chris Wilson to chief revenue officer (CRO). These changes come as the company continues to gain momentum as enterprises continue to accelerate digital transformation projects and investments … Conversica, Inc., a leader in Intelligent Virtual Assistants helping organizations attract, acquire and grow customers at scale, announced that Elissa Fink, former Tableau Chief Marketing Officer and marketing icon in Silicon Valley, joins its Board of Directors.  Fink is a marketing powerhouse with proven success in taking enterprise technologies and transforming their go-to-market strategies for accessibility and democratized use. Her expertise in building communities with unprecedented brand loyalty will benefit Conversica in the years to come … Transposit, the data-driven DevOps automation company, announced the addition of Ed Sawma to its executive team as Vice President of Marketing. Sawma brings more than 15 years of product marketing experience from industry-leading technology companies including Okta, Microsoft, and Motorola, and expertise in combining bottom-up growth with a top-down enterprise sales motion. At Transposit, Sawma will be responsible for overseeing product marketing, digital marketing, and corporate communications, with a focus on demand generation and enriching the customer journey.

And finally, a note about AI funding research … over the last 5 years, funding to artificial intelligence startups has been on the rise. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has faltered, but not dropped off: AI funding in 2020 YTD is already at $2.9B, on par with the $2.9B raised in 2019, even as deal count has declined. Investors have bet on AI tech across the country. CB Insights mapped out the top-funded AI startup in every US state.

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