“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 6/23/2021

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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 with some new funding news … Fiddler AI announced it has raised $32 million in Series B funding to give teams everywhere access to Fiddler’s Model Performance Management platform powered by Explainable AI to enable them to build Responsible AI in production. The round was led by global venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners with participation from existing investors, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Lux Capital, Haystack Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, Lockheed Martin, and The Alexa Fund … Lexion, an AI-powered contract management system, announced an oversubscribed $11 million Series A round led by Khosla Ventures, with participation from existing investors Madrona Venture Group and Wilson Sonsini, bringing the total invested to $15.2 million. Kanu Gulati from Khosla Ventures will join Lexion’s board. The Seattle based company plans to use these funds to scale go-to-market functions, drive further AI and product innovation, and grow the team, with a mission to offer a simple contract lifecycle management system (CLMs) that just works … Neo4j, a leader in graph technology, announced a Series F funding round as part of a $325 million investment led by Eurazeo (RF:PA) with participation from GV (formerly Google Ventures). Today’s transaction represents the largest investment in a private database company and raises Neo4j’s valuation to over $2 billion … Imply, a pioneer of Analytics-in-Motion, and founded by the original creators of Apache Druid, announced the closing of a $70 million Series C led by Bessemer Venture Partners with participation from Tiger Global Management, bringing total funding to over $116 million. Existing investors A16Z, Khosla Ventures and Geodesic Capital also participated in this round. This additional funding follows a banner year for Imply, growing market adoption of both Imply and open source Apache Druid. Imply has now surpassed 100 enterprise and digital-native customers, using Imply as the engine for analytics-powered applications that they build, and/or as a complete solution to directly solve internal BI and operational analytics use cases. The additional funding will extend Imply’s market leadership in the rapidly growing area of Analytics-in-Motion … Crate.io, developer and supplier of CrateDB, the purpose-built time series database, announced $10 million in additional funding. Existing Crate.io investors including Draper Esprit, VITO Ventures and Flatz & Partners AG participated together with selected individual investors. The company reports it has now raised approximately $31 million in total funding … nSure.ai, a predictive AI fraud protection company, focuses on the unique needs of digital goods retailers, announced a successful seed fundraising round of $6.8 million, led by DisruptiveAI, Phoenix Insurance, Kamet – an AXA backed venture builder, Moneta Seeds and private investors. These funds will go towards further developing nSure.ai’s predictive AI and machine learning algorithms that have reimagined digital fraud detection, reducing decline rates by 90% from an industry standard of declining 20% to only 2% … Prefect Technologies Inc., a leader in dataflow automation, announced $32M in Series B funding, led by Tiger Global with participation from new investor Bessemer Venture Partners, existing investor Positive Sum and others. Highlighting the massive growth opportunity and investor confidence in Prefect, the funding will be used to further innovate on the company’s dataflow automation platform, build out its world-class team, and proactively execute its successful product-led growth strategy in support of its fast-growing community of users … Eightfold AI announced that it has raised a $220M Series E funding round. The funds will be used to continue the rapid growth and development of Eightfold’s AI-powered Talent Intelligence Platform and expand its growing partner ecosystem. Work is changing and the workforce is evolving, forcing organizations to become future-ready today. The need for personalized reskilling and upskilling programs has become one of the most critical issues facing the global workforce today, and Eightfold AI is uniquely capable of solving this issue at a global scale … Amplitude, the Digital Optimization System, announced a $150 million Series F funding round, led by Sequoia Capital with participation from other existing investors GIC, Battery Ventures and IVP. This round brings Amplitude’s total funding to $336 million and increases its pre-money valuation to $4 billion.

We also learned of some M&A happenings … Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE) announced that it has acquired Determined AI, a San Francisco-based startup that delivers a powerful and robust software stack to train AI models faster, at any scale, using its open source machine learning (ML) platform. HPE will combine Determined AI’s unique software solution with its world-leading AI and high performance computing (HPC) offerings to enable ML engineers to easily implement and train machine learning models to provide faster and more accurate insights from their data in almost every industry … IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced the closing of its acquisition of Turbonomic, Inc., an Application Resource Management (ARM) and Network Performance Management (NPM) software provider based in Boston, MA. The close of the acquisition complements IBM’s recent acquisition of Instana for application performance monitoring (APM) and observability, and the launch of IBM Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps to automate IT Operations using AI. IBM provides customers with AI-powered automation capabilities that span from AIOps (the use of AI to automate IT Operations) to application-centric performance and IT resources observability – all built on Red Hat OpenShift to run across any hybrid cloud environment … Audience insights platform DISQO announced that it has acquired cross-device measurement company, Verto Analytics (Verto). As part of the transaction, DISQO acquired Verto’s technology, intellectual property and measurement capabilities … Precisely, the global leader in data integrity software, backed by Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. (together with its affiliates, “Clearlake”) and TA Associates, announced a definitive agreement to acquire process automation and master data management software provider Winshuttle from Symphony Technology Group (“STG”) … ExtraHop, a leader in cloud-native network detection and response, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Bain Capital Private Equity and Crosspoint Capital Partners in a strategic transaction valued at $900 million. Bain Capital is a leading investor in technology companies and one of the world’s top multi-asset alternative investment firms. Crosspoint Capital is a private equity firm focused on cybersecurity, privacy, and infrastructure software sectors … InRule Technology®, provider of the leading decision platform for automating mission-critical business decisions, announced the acquisition of Chicago-based simMachines, Inc., the leader in explainable AI/machine learning (XAI) applications. 

In the new customer wins department we have … Cloudian® announced that the Australian Genome Research Facility (AGRF) has deployed Cloudian’s S3-compatible object storage solution, enabling AGRF to manage and store its rapidly growing volumes of genome sequencing data more efficiently and cost effectively at a vital time for the industry … TigerGraph, the scalable graph database for the enterprise, announced that Merkle Science, a predictive blockchain monitoring and investigative platform, will use TigerGraph’s advanced graph analytics to preempt and prevent financial crime. Merkle Science, with TigerGraph, will enhance how the company helps its customers, which include government agencies and financial institutions, stay one step ahead of criminals. This will be done via the construction of a cryptocurrency network graph using TigerGraph, giving Merkle Science the ability to analyse over 2.5 TB of data in real time, delving five to 10 hops into the data to better connect relationships that they were not able to do prior to unlock deeper, wider and operational analytics at scale … Qlik® announced that Urban Outfitters, Inc. is standardizing on Qlik Sense® Enterprise SaaS for in-store reporting, expanding access to near real-time data for store managers and associates in its 650+ store locations across the United States and EMEA. The roll out of Qlik’s cloud analytics will help Urban Outfitters, Inc. democratize in-store decision-making, with wider access to an array of dashboards and reports updated with fresh data every two minutes. The initiative will also consolidate three previously separate reporting locations into one central Qlik hub, creating efficiencies that will give employees back essential time to increase customer engagement and satisfaction … Conversica, Inc., a leader in Conversational AI solutions for revenue teams that help organizations attract, acquire and grow customers at scale, announced its solutions are gaining incredible traction among clients of its partner, DevSavant. A data analytics, business intelligence and AI solutions developer for portfolio clients of the Savant Group, DevSavant now offers Conversica AI Assistants to automate and augment customer engagement by sales, marketing and customer success teams within its client organizations. These clients are small- and medium-sized B2B companies looking to improve engagement, scale productivity, and uncover new revenue opportunities. 

In people movement news we heard … Lightmatter, a leader in photonic computing, announced it has named Bob Turner its new Vice President of Sales and Sudarshan Yadav its new Head of Product … Dremio, an innovation leader in data lake transformation, announced four additions to its senior leadership team. These leaders include Alan Gibson as chief revenue officer, Amit Manor as head of channel and alliances – EMEA, Debbie Klett, head of strategic partner and channel marketing, and Deepa Sankar as VP of portfolio marketing … Imply announced two key hires to its executive team, with Praveen Rangnath joining as Chief Marketing Officer and Kevin Hodgkins joining as Vice President of Customer Success. Rangnath will lead the global marketing team and Hodgkins will lead all global customer success-facing functions … DataRobot, a leader in Augmented Intelligence, announced the appointment of Elise Leung Cole as the company’s first Chief People Officer (CPO). Cole, who joins DataRobot from Cisco, will oversee all people functions for DataRobot’s global workforce. Joining Cole on the executive leadership team are Michael Schmidt and Nick King, who have been promoted to Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), respectively … Arturo, an AI-powered platform that derives property insights and predictive analytics from aerial and satellite imagery, announced the addition of De’Edra S. Williams and Tom Jones to the newly created positions of vice president of customer success and vice president of sales … Cockroach Labs, the company behind a leading cloud-native distributed SQL database, CockroachDB, announced finance and strategy veteran Lorenzo Montesi will join the company as its Chief Financial Officer … Founder and CEO of DefinedCrowd, Daniela Braga, Ph.D., was appointed as a Member of the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource Task Force (NAIRRTF) … Cohesity announced that Amy Cappellanti-Wolf has joined the company to serve as chief human resources officer (CHRO). In this role, Cappellanti-Wolf is responsible for spearheading workforce strategies, including global talent acquisition and development, employee experience, total rewards and well-being, and the real estate/workplace environment. She’s also responsible for aligning Cohesity’s strong culture with its business strategy – critical as the company continues to rapidly expand as more customers and partners turn to Cohesity to radically simplify data management …  Lightbits Labs™, a pioneer and leader in NVMe™ over TCP (NVMe/TCP) cloud-native storage, announced it has hired Gil Sasson as its Chief Research & Development Officer. Sasson, a multiple patent holder, has vast experience in both R&D and cloud-native applications. At Lightbits, he will be responsible for leading all the product development engineering efforts and directing the design and deployment efforts for the company’s private and edge cloud solutions offerings.  

We also learned of several new partnerships, alignments, and collaborations … Quantum Computing Inc. (QCI) (OTCQB: QUBT), a leader in bridging the power of classical and quantum computing, announced a three-year cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) multidisciplinary research institution and renowned computing pioneer. QCI will collaborate with Los Alamos scientists through its administrator, Triad National Security, LLC, on a key component of large-scale simulations that are critical for a range of high-value, real-world applications, including national security … Iguazio, the data science & MLOps platform build for production, announced a strategic partnership with Boston Limited, an NVIDIA Elite Partner and leading provider of high-performance, mission critical server and storage solutions. The partnership enables both companies to extend their offerings to enterprises across industries looking to bring data science into real life applications, and accelerate their path to production … Infoworks.io, a leading data fabric company, announced partnership with Hitachi Solutions America which will leverage Infoworks’ comprehensive automated solution for enterprise data operations and orchestration to augment and accelerate Hitachi’s delivery of customer solutions for Microsoft Azure. Integral to the partnership is Hitachi Solutions America’s ability to resell the Infoworks platform and Infoworks expert professional services to customers needing to upgrade to a modern data fabric architecture. The Hitachi Solutions America and Infoworks partnership provides customers a turnkey solution and ensures fast and seamless implementations … C3 AI (NYSE: AI), the Enterprise AI application software company, announced a partnership with Snowflake, the Data Cloud Company. Snowflake is a leading provider of cloud-based data platform services and applications. Companies that currently use Snowflake will be provided with access to the C3 AI® Suite and pre-built C3 AI applications that address a range of industries and enterprise AI use cases – including AI-based CRM, predictive maintenance, supply network optimization, and fraud detection. The partnership is focused on combining Snowflake’s unique architecture – that enables customers to run their data platforms seamlessly across multiple clouds and regions at scale – with C3 AI’s robust enterprise AI development suite and family of industry-specific enterprise AI applications so that companies can dramatically accelerate and derive economic value from their data and enterprise AI initiatives … Lifebit Biotech Ltd announced the beginning of a long-term partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim to utilize Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the detection and early reporting of global disease outbreaks using real-world data harvested from scientific publications and other open sources. Utilising the Lifebit REAL platform, insights into the latest infectious disease outbreaks allow Boehringer Ingelheim’s R&D efforts to be prioritised accordingly. Scientists and researchers from both organisations will work side-by-side to combine real-world evidence and the latest AI algorithms to identify infectious disease outbreaks and respond accordingly. Lifebit REAL uses advanced analytic capabilities to automatically notify users of relevant outbreaks, such as transboundary disease spread or the emergence of pathogens, such as COVID-19. The system is built around an active learning architecture: with more relevant data ingested, the accuracy of the system increases.

In other analytics news, we learned that Immersion Analytics accepted the 1st place award in Tableau’s DataDev Hackathon for its new development: “Experience Tableau data immersively within AR/VR headsets.” Now, Tableau’s worldwide customer base can easily take existing Tableau dashboard data – with no changes or transformations -– and in a matter of minutes see, explore, and communicate it in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets such as Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 and Facebook’s Oculus. The four-judge panel of Tableau executives chose Immersion Analytics as the winner from of a field of 458 participants.

We also received a commentary about Imply’s $70M Series C funding round including insights on the growing real-time analytics market from Venkat Venkataramani, co-founder and CEO of Rockset:

“Imply’s new funding round represents the growing urgency for real-time analytics. No matter what kind of app we are using, as consumers we now expect millisecond speed and instant results. In order for this to be possible, businesses must harness an incredible amount of data and deliver insights in real-time. Moreover, as more customers go from batch analytics to real-time, more investors have recognized the huge market opportunity real-time analytics presents. Every company today is a data company. For example, online retailers need to build personalized shopping experiences, logistics providers must track movement in real-time. Companies that don’t leverage real-time data will be left behind. Many technology companies are racing to solve this challenge. That said, it is not enough to make real-time analytics possible on data center technologies. For real-time analytics to become mainstream and reach widespread adoption, it is imperative to make it frictionless in the cloud. Reducing the operational complexity of Apache Druid is not a trivial undertaking and we wish Imply all the best as they pursue this undertaking. This is only the beginning of the age of modern data applications, and we expect to see more funding, activity, and innovation in the real-time analytics category with a heavy cloud imperative.“

Deep Learning Patent Update – provided by Nelson E. (Nick) Brestoff, J.D., M.S. Exec. Manager & Chief Inventor, Intraspexion LLC. So far this year, the USPTO has granted 543 new “deep learning” patents. If the current pace continues, the 2021 total will probably reach 1,129 new patents.

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