“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 9/1/2021

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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.

Welcome back to another installment of “Above the Trend Line.” Let ‘s get moving with some new funding news … Databricks, the Data and AI company, announced a $1.6 Billion round of funding to accelerate innovation and adoption of the data lakehouse, as the data architecture’s popularity across data-driven organizations continues to grow at a rapid pace. The Series H funding, led by Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley), puts Databricks at a $38 billion post-money valuation. Counterpoint Global is joined by other new investors including Baillie Gifford, ClearBridge Investments and UC Investments (Office of the Chief Investment Officer of the Regents of the University of California). Existing investors participating in the round include Andreessen Horowitz, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), Coatue Management, Fidelity Management & Research, Franklin Templeton, GIC, Greenoaks, Octahedron Capital, funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., Tiger Global Management and Whale Rock Capital Management … Monad, Inc., a security data cloud innovator, emerged from stealth with $17 million in Series A investment. This round is led by Index Ventures with participation from Sequoia Capital and headed by security veterans Christian Almenar and Jacolon Walker. The Monad platform helps customers connect data from various security tools into any data warehouse, making it easier to build security applications and compliance workflows. The new funding, which brings the total investment to $19 million, comes 12 months after the Sequoia-led seed round, and enables the company to scale its development efforts for its security data cloud platform. Shaun Maguire, partner at Sequoia, will join the Monad board of directors along with Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas, partner at Index Ventures, joining as board observer … Workera.ai, the precision upskilling platform, announced that it has completed a $16M Series A. This latest round of funding follows a seed round of $5M in October 2020. The Series A was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) alongside existing investors Owl Ventures and AI Fund, as well as AI luminaries Richard Socher of AIX Ventures, Pieter Abbeel, Lake Dai and Mehran Sahami. This new infusion of capital will be used to accelerate product development and fuel the company’s go-to-market strategy … Shield AI a fast-growing defense technology company developing AI and self-driving technologies for aircraft, announced it has raised $210M in equity financing as part of a Series D fundraising round, increasing its valuation past the billion-dollar mark. The management team projects an additional $75M in debt and $15M in equity to be secured in the coming weeks, bringing the total Series D proceeds to $300M … Monte Carlo has raised $60 million in Series C funding from ICONIQ Growth with participation from Salesforce Ventures and existing investors Accel, GGV Capital, and Redpoint Ventures – bringing the company’s total funding to $101M. With this round, the company will fuel the growth of the Data Observability category, further develop its product offerings to better serve customers, support more use cases, and expand to new markets … Grafana Labs, the company behind the ubiquitous  open and composable operational dashboards, announced a $220 million Series C investment round, co-led by new investors Sequoia Capital and Coatue, with participation from existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Lead Edge Capital, and GIC. The new investment values Grafana Labs at $3 billion (for crypto fans, that’s more than 60,500 BTC as of August 23 at 22:00 UTC), more than ten times the valuation of the Series A round just two years ago … Ferret, the ‘relationship intelligence’ platform, announced a $4M seed investment. Artesian and 30+ angel investors, including Lanyon Advisory and Paul Grinberg, chairman of the Axos Bank participated in this round. The funding will fuel the acquisition and collection of exclusive data, and expand artificial intelligence search, monitoring, and natural language processing capabilities.Ferret is an AI platform architected from the ground up to empower companies and individuals with real-time, unbiased intelligence to identify risks and embrace opportunities … Motion2AI closed a $12.6M Series A from venture capitalists in the US and Korea. US investor Mir Ventures led this Series A, and Smilegate Investment, Mirae Asset, IMM, Intervest, Future Play, Shinhan Capital, Nest Company, and Amantani Partners participated … Centaur Labs, a medical data labeling company, announced $15 million in funding to fuel the company’s mission to annotate the world’s medical data. The Series A round was led by Matrix Partners with participation from Accel, Global Founders Capital, Susa Ventures, Y Combinator, and individual investors including John Capodilupo (founder and CTO of WHOOP) and Elliot Cohen (founder and CPO of PillPack). The new capital will fund the company’s efforts to rapidly expand its trusted global network of labelers and accelerate product development and hiring … Cribl, a leading Observability Pipeline company, announced it raised $200 million in new Series C funding led by Greylock and Redpoint Ventures, joined by new investor IVP, existing investors Sequoia and CRV, and with strategic investment from Citi Ventures and Crowdstrike. This Series C funding brings Cribl’s total funding to $254 million, coming on the heels of sizable deals with large enterprise customers including FINRA, Rivian, and Cox Automotive … Quantum Brilliance, a venture-backed Australian-German full-stack quantum accelerator startup, announced closing a AU$13 million seed investment co-led by the QxBranch founders’ and Main Sequence investment consortium.Quantum Brilliance harnesses synthetic diamonds to build quantum accelerators that do not require near absolute zero temperature or complex laser systems to operate like mainframe quantum computers. Quantum Brilliance is one of only a few companies worldwide already delivering quantum computing systems for customers to operate on-site today … Julia Computing has been awarded funding by the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to bring Julia’s advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities to the field of fully digital phased array systems. Funding was awarded as part of DARPA’s Tensors for Reprogrammable Intelligent Array Demonstrations (TRIAD) program … Vic.ai announced $50 million in Series B funding to spur adoption of its pioneering AI platform for real-time, autonomous accounting and financial intelligence. The Series B funding was led by ICONIQ Growth with participation from existing investors GGV Capital, Cowboy Ventures and Costanoa Ventures, bringing total capital raised to $63 million. Vic.ai plans to use the new funding to expand its enterprise offering and release additional AI capabilities for U.S. and European customers.

In M&A news we heard … Zebra Technologies (NASDAQ: ZBRA), an innovator at the front line of business with solutions and partners that deliver a performance edge, announced it intends to acquire antuit.ai, a provider of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions specific to forecasting and merchandising for the retail and CPG industries … Corum announced that their client, British Columbia, Canada-based S-FRAME Software, has been acquired by Altair, the global leader converging simulation, HPC, and AI. S-FRAME’s structural analysis software platform is used by engineers to evaluate a structure’s ability to withstand external loads (like wind, water, and snow) and meet design code requirements around the world. Altair will offer S-FRAME software through its Altair Units platform, expanding its product offering for architects and civil engineers … Advantage Solutions has acquired Strong Analytics, a provider of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science services for leading brands in consumer goods and retail, automotive, hospitality, marketing and advertising, pharmaceuticals, technology and other industries … Appen Limited (ASX:APX), a leading provider of high-quality training data for organizations that build effective AI systems at scale, announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Quadrant, a global leader in mobile location data, Point-of-Interest data, and corresponding compliance services. Quadrant and Appen’s unified business will be strongly positioned to deliver high-quality data to organisations that rely on geolocation for their business. Quadrant’s Geolancer product, delivering accurate, up-to-date, and manually verified POI data, will expand its global reach and scale by tapping into Appen’s global crowd of over one million workers in over 170 countries. With the acquisition, we expect Geolancer to become the market-leading POI platform … Aicadium, a global technology company founded by Temasek and dedicated to creating and scaling AI solutions, announced the acquisition of BasisAI, a Singapore-based provider of scalable and responsible artificial intelligence (AI) software. The two organisations will be jointly known as Aicadium and will expand operations to serve a global enterprise customer base. BasisAI was co-founded by Liu Feng-Yuan, Linus Lee, and Silvanus Lee in 2018 to draw on their world-class experience in building scalable AI from Silicon Valley companies and seize the vast opportunity to build an AI powerhouse in the APAC region … InRule Technology®, provider of the leading decision platform for automating mission-critical business decisions, announced the acquisition of Sweden-based Barium AB, a provider of digital process automation (DPA) SaaS solutions. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed … Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE) announced that it has completed the acquisition of Zerto, an industry leader in cloud data management and protection with a net cash purchase price at closing of $374 million. This acquisition immediately positions the HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform in the high-growth data protection market with a proven solution and further propels HPE’s storage business into a cloud-native, software-defined data services business. 

We also learned of a number of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … C3 AI and Google Cloud today announced a new, first-of-its-kind partnership to help organizations across multiple industries accelerate their application of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. Under the agreement, both companies’ global sales teams will co-sell C3 AI’s enterprise AI applications, running on Google Cloud. The entire portfolio of C3 AI’s Enterprise AI applications, including industry-specific AI Applications, C3 AI Suite®, C3 AI CRM, and C3 AI Ex Machina, are now available on Google Cloud’s global, secure, and low-latency infrastructure, enabling customers to run C3 AI on the industry’s cleanest cloud … APARAVI® Software Corporation, the trusted disruptor in unstructured data management, announced the company’s partnership with Terralogic, a leading global technology and IT services provider across the Americas and Asia for financial companies, who is now using Aparavi platform to discover, classify, intelligently govern and consolidate distributed data for their customers … Neustar Inc., a global information services and technology company and leader in identity resolution, announced a partnership with Dynata, the first-party data and insights platform.  Dynata provides Neustar Second-Party Data Marketplace clients direct access to an extensive library of fully permissioned, first-party survey data covering the unique habits, preferences, and attitudes of over 62 million consumers worldwide.  When combined with Neustar’s expansive consumer data and identity graph, Dynata’s consumer research data provides marketers with the audience insight and reach they need to improve marketing’s impact on sales and customer experience …. Backblaze, Inc., a leading storage cloud company serving nearly 500,000 customers across 175+ countries, announced a new partnership with Vultr, the largest privately-owned global hyperscale cloud, to provide developers with a simple, enterprise-grade alternative for cloud computing resources outside the monolithic Amazon, Google, or Microsoft ecosystems … Qumulo, a leader in simplifying enterprise file data management across hybrid cloud environments, announced its collaboration with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to debut the highest file density node on the market for hyperactive data workloads, a compact 1U form factor HPE ProLiant DL325 Gen10 Plus 291TB All-NVMe Node purpose-built for Qumulo. Whether aggregating autonomous vehicle data, video surveillance and security data or capturing images while performing cutting-edge research, enterprises can now store the highest amount of data in the industry’s smallest all-flash data center footprint, while dramatically increasing scalability and cost savings simultaneously … Top Artificial Intelligence (AI) chipmaker Hailo has partnered with Macnica, a leading global semiconductor distributor, to sell Hailo’s products in Japan. The agreement with Macnica will allow Hailo to expand its presence in Japan, extending its reach to customers in fields such as smart retail, smart cities, smart homes, industry 4.0, and beyond … AI Clearing, a market leader in automated analytics for large-scale construction and infrastructure projects, announced a global partnership with Doosan Mobility Innovation, Inc. (DMI), part of leading industrial corporation Doosan Group.The partnership will integrate AI Clearing’s AI-powered construction progress monitoring capabilities into DMI’s first-of-a-kind hydrogen-powered drone products to deliver granular visibility for large infrastructure projects. Hydrogen-powered drones are able to stay airborne for more than 2 hours which is 3-4 times longer than LiPo (lithium-ion polymer) drones, alleviating the need for multiple batteries and launch points. Collectively, the efficiency and visibility of the joint solution provides construction teams with valuable, near real-time aerial data insights … Hivecell, the Edge-as-a-Service company, and Hasty, a leading end-to-end platform for vision AI, announced a partnership that will be deployed on-premise and used in hyper security-sensitive environments for high-stakes vision AI applications. By leveraging the two solutions, organizations can more efficiently make relevant, data-driven decisions at the edge … IOTech, the edge software company, announced its partnership with Lotus Labs, the machine learning experts, to deliver AI and visual inference solutions at the IoT edge. The partnership enables IOTech to integrate Lotus Labs’ computer vision technology into its edge software solutions.This combination provides a functionality that is especially useful for companies building intelligent solutions across vertical use cases. These include loss prevention in retail, crowd management in entertainment venues, manufacturing component fault detection, COVID safe-distancing management, and smart safety systems within industrial plants.

In people movement activity we have … Data Machines Corporation doubled down on its mission to redefine what is possible with automation and artificial intelligence with the recent announcement that Matthew Quinn has been selected as CEO. A highly respected and trusted leader with 20 years of experience across data science, academia, and government sectors, Quinn is committed to supporting the company’s growth while shaping the future of the industry and delivering on the vision of Founder, Eric Whyne … Anaconda, Inc., provider of the popular data science platform, announced that it would begin funding the Pyston project by hiring its lead developers, Kevin Modzelewski and Marius Wachtler. This move marks the latest milestone in Anaconda’s history of advancing state-of-the-art Python performance. At Anaconda, Pyston’s core developers will focus on building an open-source community of users, contributors, and maintainers to ensure the Pyston project’s long-term sustainability … Moogsoft, the AI-pioneer and observability with AIOps leader, announced the appointment of Mike Cabot as the company’s Senior Vice President of Commercial and Velocity Sales. With over 20 years of experience in sales leadership, Cabot will play a key role in driving sales and revenue growth, with a particular emphasis on driving the product-led growth agenda at Moogsoft … Databricks, the Data and AI company, announced the appointment of longtime software executive and seasoned security chief, Fermín Serna, as the company’s new Chief Security Officer (CSO). Serna will lead Databricks’ high-impact network, platform and user security programs along with governance and compliance efforts as the company expands its platform capabilities and positions itself for the next phase of growth … Lightmatter, a leader in photonic computing, announced it has appointed Raghib Hussain, President of Products and Technologies at Marvell, to its board of directors. Raghib joins the Lightmatter board with over 20 years of experience driving innovative commercial strategy in communications, security, networking, computing and semiconductor technologies. 

In this new customer wins category we learned … VAST Data, the storage software company breaking decades-old tradeoffs, announced that a major auto manufacturer has given VAST’s Universal Storage platform the steering wheel. In doing so, the auto company is leveraging VAST’s all-flash architecture in an investment of over $10 million for critical data-intensive efforts from supporting the automotive design process to managing the complex datasets produced by next-generation intelligent vehicles … Noogata, a global leader in no-code artificial intelligence (AI) data analytics for enterprises, has been selected by luggage and accessories firm, the Bugatti Group, to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their e-commerce business and marketing strategies globally. This will significantly grow their e-commerce business, with a strategic objective of moving 50% of their sales online. For Noogata it represents further growth, and adds the Bugatti Group to its existing client roster that includes PepsiCo, Colgate Palmolive and mDesign … Allvue Systems, a leading alternative investment technology solutions provider, announced that they have chosen Snowflake, the Data Cloud Company, to offer a centralized Data Cloud that will significantly enhance and simplify clients’ data storage and processing capabilities across business lines and asset classes. Allvue’s new data lake solution will enable clients to warehouse and manage all of their data on one integrated, user-friendly system. The sophisticated, cloud-native platform will feature APIs for easy, global accessibility, as well as the ability to query their entire data catalog at once to unlock insights that inform portfolio and investment decisions. In addition, the platform’s event-driven integration and cohesive business intelligence (“BI”) solution will simplify data collection and enhance reporting processes across business lines and audiences, increasing operational efficiencies front-to-back. 

Deep Learning Patent Update – provided by Nelson E. (Nick) Brestoff, J.D., M.S. Exec. Manager & Chief Inventor, Intraspexion LLC. As of August 31, 2021, the number of U.S. “deep learning” patents — at 753 — is now noticeably above the total for all of 2020, which was 726. Let’s do the math: 753 divided by 8 is 94.125 per month and, multiplying by 12, the prediction for 2021 is a remarkable 1,130. In 2016, when I started inventing — with “deep learning” in the Claims (and achieved seven patents with a Priority Date of July 1, 2016), the total for 2016 was 39.

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