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“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 12/21/2021

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.

We’re very please to have you all back for another issue of “Above the Trend Line,” our last of 2021. Let’s get going with some new funding news … Airbyte, creators of the fast-growing open source data integration platform, announced that it has raised more than $150 million in Series B funding led by Altimeter Capital and Coatue Management, also including Thrive Capital, Salesforce Ventures, Benchmark, Accel, SV Angel. The round follows dramatic growth since the series-A round in May 2021 led by Benchmark. It brings the total funding to $181.2 million with a valuation of $1.5 billion for Airbyte, since its inception in mid-2020 … Continual, a company building a next-generation AI platform for the modern data stack, announced its public beta launch with $4 million in seed funding. The round was led by Amplify Partners, a firm that invests in companies with a vision of transforming infrastructure and machine intelligence tools. Illuminate Ventures, Essence, Wayfinder, and Data Community Fund also participated in the round … Sigma Computing, the cloud analytics and business intelligence (BI) innovator, announced it has raised $300M in Series C financing. D1 Capital Partners and XN co-led the round with returning investors Sutter Hill Ventures and Altimeter Capital, and an investment from Snowflake Ventures. To date, Sigma Computing has raised $381.3M to enable business and technical users to analyze data securely and at scale with the simplicity of a spreadsheet interface … Cockroach Labs, the company behind the leading cloud-native distributed SQL database CockroachDB, announced its Series F for $278 million in new funding at a valuation of $5 billion. The investment round was led by Greenoaks with participation from Altimeter, BOND, Benchmark, Coatue, FirstMark, GV, Index Ventures, J.P. Morgan, Lone Pine Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and Tiger Global. This round brings Cockroach Labs’ total funding to $633 million. The funds will be used to support Cockroach Labs’ ongoing investments in the development of their innovative and fast-growing cloud database as well as its continued customer growth and expansion into new markets … The Graph, the indexing and query layer for web3, announced that The Graph Foundation has awarded $48 million to The Guild, a renowned GraphQL open-source infrastructure group. The newly awarded amount brings the total allocated to core developers from The Graph to the tune of $248 million in the past year … SnapLogic, a leader in Enterprise Automation, announced that it has raised $165 million at a billion dollar valuation to accelerate its leadership in AI-powered data and application integration, the new glue of the social and virtual era. This latest round was led by Sixth Street Growth, which will join the SnapLogic board. The funds, which augment SnapLogic’s venture-backed war chest, will be used to speed international expansion, product innovation, and sales and marketing … CData Software, a leading global provider of cloud connectivity and integration solutions, announced a $140 million Series B funding round led by Updata Partners, a growth equity investment firm focused on B2B software. The latest investment follows a $20 million Series A funding round by Updata in March 2020, bringing the total funds raised to $160 million … UrsaLeo, the venture funded developer of an immersive 3D platform that combines digital twin technology with real-time and historical data from IoT streams, document management, maintenance, and other enterprise systems, announced a $1.9MM institutional seed round. The round was led by i2e, which serves companies in all phases of the business life cycle, from startups looking for their first round of capital to established businesses seeking funding to expand their markets or products. DataFrame Ventures and other private investors participated in the round. The UrsaLeo team will use the funds to expand sales in the US, Europe, Australia and increase its customer base in the energy and building management industries. These initiatives will also position the company for a Series A round of $5-8MM in Q1 of 2022.

 In M&A news we learned … GitLab Inc. (NASDAQ: GTLB), The DevOps Platform, announced it has acquired Opstrace, Inc., an open source observability distribution. With the acquisition of Opstrace, GitLab continues to define the future of DevOps platforms and anticipates being the first to include an integrated open source observability solution within a single application with one user interface, a unified data store, and security embedded within the DevOps lifecycle. GitLab expects to expand its monitoring and observability capabilities by offering organizations a new choice. GitLab believes organizations will no longer have to choose between a costly SaaS service whose pricing does not align with their organization’s goals, and a do-it-yourself observability solution stitched together using open-source components. GitLab anticipates that this acquisition will provide an out-of-the-box, tested, integrated observability platform deployed within the GitLab DevOps Platform … Altair (Nasdaq: ALTR), a leader converging simulation, HPC, and AI, acquired World Programming, a UK-based technology company specializing in data analytics software used by many of the world’s leading companies including financial services and insurance organizations. World Programming’s platform supports development and execution of multi-language software solutions leveraging popular languages used in data science including Python, R, and the SAS language in a single program … EXL [NASDAQ: EXLS], a global analytics and digital solutions leader, announced its acquisition of Clairvoyant, a global data, AI, and cloud services firm. The acquisition strengthens EXL’s capabilities by adding additional expertise in data engineering and cloud enablement, further supporting its clients in insurance, healthcare, banking and financial services, and retail … Unbabel, an AI-powered language operations platform that helps businesses deliver multilingual support at scale, announced the acquisition of Lingo24 as part of its strategy to bring consistent and reliable translation to businesses around the world. The addition of Lingo24 means Unbabel can provide more consistent, high-quality multilingual customer experiences across marketing and customer serviceaccelerating international growth while improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. Lingo24, a tech-enabled Language Service Provider (LSP), is experienced in delivering multilingual content at scale for global enterprises, and will advance Unbabel’s vision of enabling businesses to execute on their unified language strategy through Language Operations. Lingo24 has strong expertise in translating content across multiple formats—from product descriptions and user guides to multilingual websites, software, and apps … Tableau announced stronger with our acquisition of Narrative Science (a Salesforce company), a Tableau partner since 2016 and global leader in data storytelling technologies. Narrative Science’s natural language capabilities are some of the best in the industry. This technology automates the analysis, build and communication of insights from data in a modern, easy-to-use narrative format that people can understand. Integrating Narrative Science with Tableau will scale this capability across the Salesforce ecosystem and help customers deliver data insights to even more people in the form of easy-to-understand stories. 

We also heard of a number of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Cognite announced a collaboration with Equinor (OSE: EQNR, NYSE: EQNR), a leading energy company, to expand Equinor’s data capabilities and support the company’s digital ambitions. Using Cognite’s industrial DataOps technology, Cognite Data Fusion®, as a module in Equinor’s OMNIA data architecture, built on the Microsoft Azure cloud, a joint Equinor and Cognite team will develop and explore tools and solutions to accelerate Equinor’s digital ambitions. These efforts include developing data-driven insights within Marketing & Supply and other business areas across Equinor’s global footprint and asset portfolio … Axiomtek, a world-renowned leader relentlessly devoted in the research, development, and manufacturing of innovative and reliable industrial computer products of high efficiency, announced its partnership with leading AI chipmaker Hailo to launch the RSC100, a state-of-the-art ARM-based edge AI computer (also named Plato). The ARM-based RSC100 (Plato) supports the Hailo-8™ edge AI processor, the latter of which features up to 26 TOPS for running deep learning applications at full scale efficiently, intelligently, and sustainably. The partnership with Hailo offers customers a new level of AI solutions across a wide range of market segments such as smart city, smart retail, industry 4.0, and smart transportation … Otonomo Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: OTMO), a leading mobility intelligence platform provider, announced it has joined forces with NXP® Semiconductors, to accelerate the time-to-value for the data generated at the vehicle edge. The partnership ensures compatibility and business continuity between NXP’s S32G vehicle network processors at the vehicle edge and the Otonomo Mobility Intelligence Platform in the cloud, to offer a seamless, secure infrastructure for transferring data from the vehicle to the cloud. It also enables Otonomo to offer newly differentiated and connected vehicle data and mobility insights that can accelerate the time-to-value for secure connected vehicle applications, while breaking down long-standing silos in the automotive industry … Lightbits Labs® (Lightbits®), a leader in NVMe®-based, scalable and software-defined elastic block storage for private and edge clouds, today announced that it has entered into a partnership agreement with Define Tech, a global independent software vendor (ISV) for cloud-native computing in finance, life sciences, broadcast and media, and high-performance computing (HPC) … Veritone, Inc. (NASDAQ: VERI), creator of aiWARE, a hyper-expansive Enterprise AI platform announced a partnership with Snowflake, the Data Cloud company, that provides enterprises with visibility and actionable insights into 100 percent of their data – structured, semi-structured and unstructured – unlocking the potential for digital and operational transformation … Hailo, a leading edge Artificial Intelligence chipmaker announced its partnership with NXP® Semiconductors, an automotive market innovator, to launch a number of joint AI solutions for automotive Electronic Control Units (ECUs). The joint solutions will combine NXP’s safe and efficient automotive processors (S32G and Layerscape) along with the high-performance Hailo-8™ AI processor. The Hailo-8 outperforms other available AI processors for edge computing with up to 26 tera-operations per second (TOPS) at a typical power consumption of 2.5 W. These scalable solutions will enable power-efficient AI acceleration at low size and energy usage, helping usher in a new era of automotive innovation … Fujitsu Limited and the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines (CBMM) headquartered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have achieved an important milestone in a joint initiative to deliver improvements in the accuracy of artificial intelligence (AI) models. The results of the research collaboration between Fujitsu and CBMM are published in a paper discussing computational principles that draw inspiration from neuroscience to enable AI models to recognize unseen (out-of-distribution, OOD) data [1] that deviates from the original training data. Highlights of the paper will be presented at the NeurIPS 2021 (Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems) [2], showing improvements in the accuracy of AI models.

[1] OOD data: Data substantially different from the data seen during the AI training.

[2] Presented at NeurIPS: “How Modular Should Neural Module Networks Be for Systematic Generalization?”; Planned presentation date and time: December 8, 4:30 PM PST/ December 9, 2021 9:30 AM JST Presenters: Vanessa D’Amario (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Tomotake Sasaki (Fujitsu) and Xavier Boix (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) https://neurips.cc/Conferences/2021/Schedule?showEvent=26740

Principles that enable AI to achieve high recognition accuracy of OOD data by utilizing an original index indicating the degree of image recognition of AI

In the new customer wins department we have … Arturo, an AI-powered platform that derives property insights and predictive analytics from aerial and satellite imagery, announced a multi-year deal with Vave, an algorithmic underwriting managing general agent (MGA), to deliver property insurance intelligence that enables robust decision-making to understand and select the right risks in real-time. Through this strategic partnership, Arturo will serve as an additional source of intelligence, augmenting Vave’s rating algorithms with its own unique values. This will provide Vave with an inside track on risks that exist within a given property, enabling them to price insurance policies accordingly and ultimately build a more profitable portfolio … Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE) announced that Barclays has selected HPE GreenLake to deliver its global private cloud platform. The bank has signed a strategic cloud partnership, in which the HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform will be integral to Barclays’ hybrid multi-cloud strategy and digital transformation across Barclays’ global businesses. The automated and open cloud platform will host thousands of workloads and support the bank in delivering an enhanced personalized banking experience for its customers … Datatron announced that a leading pharmaceutical company has selected its MLOps framework, enabling increased productivity and the ability to build the best AI for the organization. AI and ML bring significant opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry and many others, but traditionally, building an MLOps team from the ground-up has been cost prohibitive for many organizations – and models haven’t yielded the intended business benefits. Datatron’s enterprise AI platform streamlines MLOps and governance workflows, and helps companies operationalize their models to realize the ROI of their investments … Aerospike Inc., a leader in real-time data platforms, announced global technology company, Criteo (NASDAQ: CRTO), has selected Aerospike to deliver a digital transformation project that significantly improves the scale and performance of its global commerce media platform. The project will also see Criteo reduce its server count by 80 percent, achieving millions of dollars of cost savings per year and reducing CO2 emissions.   

In people movement news we heard … Conversica, Inc., a leader in Conversational AI solutions for enterprise revenue teams that help organizations attract, acquire and grow customers at scale, today announced the appointment of two new C-Suite executives, Mark Cuny as Chief Financial Officer and Ella Dillon as Chief Customer Officer. Cuny has more than 25 years of financial and operational experience with both public and private enterprise software companies varying in size from startup to Fortune 500. Dillon brings her 20 plus years of expertise in customer experience design to accelerate loyalty driven retention and expansion for fast growing pre-IPO Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies. The company also appointed Lewis Barr as Vice President of Legal and General Counsel … Torch.AI, a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) powered ultra-high speed data processing—making data easier to use for humans and machines, announced that veteran national security technologist, Adam Lurie, is joining the company as its Chief Strategy Officer (CSO). A vital member of the executive team, Lurie will accelerate the expansion and reach of Torch.AI’s capabilities across customer segments, as well as oversee corporate development activity, ensuring a mission focused culture remains at the company’s core … Protegrity, a global leader in data security, announced the expansion of its executive leadership team with the promotions of Terri McBride (EVP, global people and HR) and Kaitlin Hartshorn (VP, legal affairs) following the appointment of Paul Mountford as CEO in November 2021. The newly expanded leadership team will enable Protegrity to streamline company operations and support continued revenue and employee growth … Starburst, the analytics anywhere company, named Javier Molina as its Chief Revenue Officer. In this role, he will develop and oversee Starburst’s global sales strategy, accelerate company growth and revenue, and lead top-performing sales teams. Javier brings nearly 15 years of sales leadership experience to Starburst, most recently serving as the SVP of Worldwide Sales for Atlas, MongoDB’s extremely successful multi-cloud application data platform … CLARA Analytics (“CLARA”), a leading provider of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in the commercial insurance industry, announced the appointment of Rick Rosenthal as Chief Financial Officer. Reporting to CLARA CEO, Heather H. Wilson, Rick will oversee the company’s finance and accounting organizations, including its corporate development and investor relations functions … Boomi, the intelligent connectivity and automation leader, announced that its Board of Directors has appointed David Meredith as Chief Executive Officer, effective January 31, 2022. Meredith comes to Boomi from NASDAQ-listed Everbridge, where during his tenure as CEO, the company experienced rapid revenue growth. He brings to Boomi over 25 years of executive leadership across both multi-billion-dollar public companies as well as private equity-backed technology platforms. Meredith will succeed Chris McNabb, who plans to retire.  

Deep Learning Patent Update – provided by Nelson E. (Nick) Brestoff, J.D., M.S. Exec. Manager & Chief Inventor, Intraspexion LLC. We’re half way through December and the # of new “deep learning” has reached 1067, with two weeks to go. The “Land Rush” is on track to jump from 726 patents in 2020 by over 50% to 1,100 (plus or minus a couple) in 2021.

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