“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 8/17/2021

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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 get the rumor mill rolling with some new funding news … Monte Carlo, the data reliability company, announced that they have raised $60M in Series C funding from ICONIQ Growth with participation from Salesforce Ventures and existing investors Accel, GGV Capital, and Redpoint Ventures – bringing their total funding to $101M. With this round, Monte Carlo will fuel the growth of the Data Observability category, further develop its product offerings for our customers, support more use cases, and expand to new markets … Snorkel AI, a data-centric AI platform company powered by programmatic data labeling, announced $85 million in Series C funding, bringing the total funding raised to $135 million. Snorkel AI is now valued at $1 billion, making it one of the few companies in the AI industry to reach a billion-dollar valuation in two years. The new round was co-led by Addition, a new investor in Snorkel AI, and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, a previous investor. Other previous investors Greylock, GV, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Nepenthe Capital and Walden also participated … Dataiku, a leading platform for Everyday AI, announced $400M in Series E investment led by Tiger Global, with participation from several existing investors, including ICONIQ Growth, CapitalG, FirstMark Capital, Battery Ventures, Snowflake Ventures, and Dawn Capital, as well as new investors including Insight Partners, Eurazeo, Lightrock, and Datadog CEO Olivier Pomel. This capital, which brings the company’s valuation to $4.6B, will power Dataiku’s mission to systemize the use of data for exceptional business results … FullStory, a leader in digital experience intelligence (DXI), announced that it has secured $103 million in growth capital financing. The oversubscribed Series D round was led by Permira’s growth fund, which backs leading tech-enabled and digital businesses, and includes participation from all existing institutional investors, including Kleiner Perkins, GV, Stripes, Dell Technologies Capital, Salesforce Ventures, and Glynn Capital. The funding will be used to expand FullStory’s business internationally and to further enhance its award-winning DXI platform, which helps companies build better digital products and experiences across web and mobile channels by providing real-time analytics and insights to product, customer success, engineering, and marketing teams … yellow.ai, a leading customer experience (CX) automation platform, trusted by 700+ enterprises globally, announced it has raised $78.15M in Series C, led by WestBridge Capital along with Sapphire Ventures, and Salesforce Ventures. Lightspeed Venture Partners again participated in this round, which brings total funding raised so far to $102.15M … Ahana, the Presto company, announced it has raised $20 million in Series A funding to transform open data lake analytics, bringing total funds raised to $24.8 million. The financing round was led by Third Point Ventures and included existing investors GV (formerly Google Ventures), Leslie Ventures, and Lux Capital. Robert Schwartz, Managing Partner, Third Point Ventures will join Ahana’s Board of Directors … C. Light Technologies, a neurotech and AI company, announced it has received an investment from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) through its Diagnostics Accelerator, a collaborative research initiative supported by Leonard A. Lauder, Bill Gates, the Dolby family, the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott among other leading philanthropists. This new investment will fund a novel pilot study with the UCSF Memory and Aging Center to look at changes in fixational eye motion during the earliest stage of Alzheimer’s disease, generally known as mild cognitive impairment.

In new M&A activity we learned … Qlik® announced the acquisition of NodeGraph, a customizable metadata management solution, to help expand its analytics data pipeline capabilities with interactive data lineage, impact analysis and governance and drive “explainable BI,” a higher level of visibility and trust in data. Acquiring NodeGraph advances Qlik’s vision of Active Intelligence, where technology and processes trigger immediate action from real-time, up-to-date and trusted data to accelerate business value across the entire data and analytics supply chain … SNP Schneider-Neureither & Partner SE, a world-leading provider of software solutions for digital transformation processes and automated data migrations, signed an agreement to acquire 100% of the shares in Datavard AG. The software and consulting company with around 170 employees specializes in transformations and data management in SAP landscapes and generated total revenues of around EUR 17.6 million and EBIT of EUR 1 million in the 2020 fiscal year. The initial consolidation is expected to take place on August 1, 2021 … Feedzai, a leading cloud-based financial risk management platform, announced the acquisition of the most advanced behavioral biometric platform, Revelock. Following a $200m investment round earlier this year, Feedzai’s acquisition creates the world’s largest AI-powered financial risk management platform with native, integrated behavioral biometrics. The integrated platform enables financial institutions and merchants across the globe to detect and prevent financial crime before it occurs. Hypergranular risk-level assessment bolsters security, maintains privacy, and gives consumers a lightning-fast experience.

In IPO news we heard … SAS, a global leader in analytics and AI, announced its intention to be ready for an initial public offering (IPO) by 2024. Under the leadership of its co-founders, Jim Goodnight and John Sall, SAS has achieved the financial strength, brand equity and market leadership to make this move. To become IPO-ready, SAS will begin to take steps such as refining its financial reporting structure, streamlining certain operational processes, and enhancing its focus on the segments of its platform where the company can continue to succeed and grow to the benefit of its stakeholders. With this announcement, SAS will continue to invest significant sums in – and further develop – its AI capabilities and advanced analytics software and solutions, to continue to meet customer needs and extend its leadership in a growing, highly competitive and increasingly dynamic market.

We also heard of a number of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Narrative, the Data Streaming Platform that makes it easy to buy, sell and win, announced its partnership with geospatial data firm Tamoco to make its accurate location data available to users of the Narrative platform. Tamoco provides precise location data to clients in various industries, including finance and investment, marketing and advertising, retail and real estate, academia, research, and planning & strategy. Its leading ML algorithm location technology provides accurate and reliable location data without compromising user privacy … AI-driven decision intelligence platform Tellius, announced a new partnership with Looker, whose business intelligence software and big data analytics platform helps organizations to explore, analyze, and share real-time business analytics easily. Many organizations today still struggle to track key performance metrics at a granular level – for example, identifying the factors that cause metrics to change and determining how to best act on information presented across BI dashboards. By joining forces and natively connecting their platforms, Tellius and Looker are together mitigating these challenges by allowing consumers to discover insights at scale and explore their data with natural language based on Looker’s unified metrics. Additionally, this partnership offers a new way for customers to leverage AI and machine learning and ask “what” and “why” questions of their data … KX, a leader in real-time streaming analytics, today announced a partnership with Alpine F1 Team as official supplier of real-time analytics software and services. The KX technology enables real-time data capture and analysis of millions of data points across thousands of sensors for split-second decision-making during races, as well as for off-track operational improvements … Deepgram, a leading automatic speech recognition (ASR) provider, announced a new program, in partnership with top accelerators such as Y Combinator, that puts the power of voice recognition in the hands of developers. The Deepgram Startup Program provides approved applicants up to $100,000 each in Deepgram speech recognition. The program will offer $10 million total in free speech recognition and is accepting applicants until the end of 2021. Deepgram also released new features to the company’s category-defining speech recognition platform, including a new developer console, software development kits and new API documentation – all designed to create a frictionless developer experience … Neustar Inc., a global information services and technology company and leader in identity resolution, announced that it will integrate its Unified Identity solution with Treasure Data, the enterprise Customer Data Platform (CDP) that harmonizes an organization’s data, insights, and engagement technology stacks. As part of the agreement, Treasure Data will leverage Neustar’s Unified Identity data solutions to power data hygiene, data enrichment, and audience segmentation within the Treasure Data CDP.   

In the new customer wins department we have … VAST Federal, a VAST Data subsidiary that modernizes government agencies’ data centric operations with mission-ready storage solutions, announced that the United States Department of Defense (DoD) has placed orders for VAST’s Universal Storage solution, exceeding $10M in total investment. VAST Federal will help the agency unlock the full potential of their datasets by providing them with the industry’s only cloud storage platform that combines the speed of an all-flash system with the affordability of an archive to quickly analyze and respond to national security situations in real-time … Alluxio, the developer of open source data orchestration software for large-scale workloads, announced that Aunalytics, a leading data platform company delivering Insights-as-a-Service for enterprise businesses, deployed Alluxio’s Data Orchestration platform as a key component of its digital transformation strategy resulting in an up to 90% post-migration reduction of their data movement/copy requirements and improved compute and delivery times by up to 30% … Icertis, the contract intelligence company that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible with contract lifecycle management (CLM), announced that Allina Health, an innovative not-for-profit healthcare system headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, has selected the Icertis Contract Intelligence (ICI) platform as the primary CLM solution for the company’s digital transformation of contracting. The initiative advances the organization’s procurement operations, helps to ensure regulatory and industry compliance, and maximizes the value of their contracts long after each one is signed … Razor Labs, a leading developer of AI solutions for industrial manufacturing processes, announces the successful completion of a pilot examining the capabilities of its DataMind AI solution under Australian mining processes. The offline pilot was conducted by one of the world’s largest mining companies involved in processing minerals, oil, and gas. As a result of surpassing the preset targets for accuracy and time efficiency, Razor Labs will be receiving a $1 million bonus.

In people movement news we heard … Heap, a leading Digital Insights platform, announced new additions to the company’s C-Suite: Ahmed Quadri has joined as Chief Customer Officer, and Sean Andrew is now Chief Revenue Officer. Quadri and Andrew join CEO Ken Fine and Heap’s executive bench as Heap looks to expand its already industry-leading ability to apply data science to a complete, automatically-captured behavioral dataset, automatically surfacing otherwise invisible high-value insights to digital experience teams, and slashing the time it takes businesses to create superlative digital experiences for their customers … Datometry, a pioneer in database virtualization, iannounced that it has added Amy Chang, board member at Disney, Procter & Gamble, Marqeta, SambaNova Systems, and Pragma, to its advisory board. In addition to the current boards she sits on, Chang has previously served on the boards of Cisco, Splunk and Informatica. Following the acquisition of her startup Accompany by Cisco for $270M, she led Cisco’s multi-billion dollar collaboration business. As EVP and GM of this 6000 person team, she led the videoconferencing, cloud calling, contact center, video device and phones businesses. Accompany was an AI/ML-based relationship intelligence platform serving Fortune 500 companies … Tray.io, a leader in low-code general workflow automation, announced that Susan Lally has joined as Senior Vice President of Engineering. Lally brings more than 20 years of expertise leading engineering and product organizations for some of the most recognizable technology brands in the world. In her newly appointed role, Lally will lead the Tray.io engineering team and focus her efforts on continued enhancement of Tray.io’s core product lines – the Tray Platform and Tray Embedded, which includes Tray Embedded Native and Tray Embedded Integration Manager. Lally will also concentrate on expanding Tray.io’s world-class engineering organization across multiple technical teams … WSO2, a leader in digital transformation technology, announced the addition of two senior executives: Shekar Hariharan, WSO2 chief marketing officer (CMO), has led marketing efforts at Jitterbit, Oracle and SugarCRM. Gregory (Greg) Stuecklin, WSO2 vice president and general manager (VP and GM) of North America, previously led regional sales at Microsoft and Oracle. With decades of experience in successfully driving the growth initiatives of enterprise software companies, Shekar and Greg will play central roles in accelerating WSO2’s global expansion … Conversica, a provider of Conversational AI solutions, has appointed Terrie Banuelos to Vice President of Global Sales. Banuelos brings decades of sales experience in marketing cloud, enterprise marketing management, commerce, and digital experience solutions across SMB, mid-market and enterprise businesses. Her addition to the leadership team directly supports Conversica’s transparent commitment to Diversity and Inclusion … Arturo, an AI-powered platform that derives property insights and predictive analytics from aerial and satellite imagery, has tapped Brett Antonides as vice president of apps, analytics and visualization and Dustin Montoya as vice president of platform infrastructure and engineering. With extensive industry knowledge and firsthand experience in geospatial technology, data analytics and artificial intelligence, these new executives will help refine Arturo’s industry-leading technology and drive strategic initiatives and partnerships to support the company’s continued expansion … ScyllaDB, creators of the high-performance Scylla NoSQL database, announced that strategist and thought leader Wayne Ariola has joined as Chief Marketing Officer, leading initiatives to expand awareness of Scylla’s premier NoSQL database for real-time applications. Scylla is already used by innovative companies like Discord, Comcast, Starbucks, Hubspot and Zillow … Sisense, a leading AI-driven platform for infusing analytics everywhere, announced that Gilad Katz has joined the company as Senior Vice President, Engineering. Gilad will lead the company’s global engineering and development department, which spans Kiev, the U.S.A. and Israel, and leverage his background in building SaaS architecture to propel Sisense further ahead of competitors as one of the only cloud-agnostic and cloud-native analytics vendors on the market … Privitar, a leader in modern data provisioning, announced the expansion of its executive leadership team with the appointments of Victoria Normark as Chief Technology Officer, Pat Walsh as Chief Marketing Officer, and Bill Ziske as Senior Vice President of Sales, North America. The additions of these software and security industry veterans align Privitar for its next stage of innovation and growth, as the company continues to expand its industry-leading data privacy capabilities and builds out its modern data provisioning platform … Afresh Technologies, an AI-driven technology company building solutions that are transforming the fresh food supply chain, announced the addition of Bosky Dalal to Afresh’s technical leadership team as Director of Data Engineering. In her position, Dalal will head the company’s data engineering functions, including continuing to build the team of data engineers and analysts, as Afresh scales to meet rising market demand for its first solution … AppTek, a leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), Neural Machine Translation (NMT), Text-to-Speech (TTS) and Natural Language Processing / Understanding (NLP/U) technologies, announced the appointment of Dr. Zoltán Tüske as Senior Research Scientist for the company’s ASR technologies. In this role, Dr. Tüske will seek to further advance the performance of large vocabulary continuous speech recognition systems critical to the next generation of speech-enabled AI technologies. 

 Deep Learning Patent Update – provided by Nelson E. (Nick) Brestoff, J.D., M.S. Exec. Manager & Chief Inventor, Intraspexion LLC. At the rate of new patents (about 20 per week), there’s little doubt that we’ll surpass all of 2020 by the end of August.

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