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“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 2/2/2022

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 scuttlebutt and so little time! Let’s get under way with some new funding news … causaLens, the London deep tech company delivering the future of AI, has raised a $45m Series A round. causaLens is the pioneer of Causal AI – the only AI technology that quantifies cause and effect relationships to reason alongside humans in a manner that is trustworthy, explainable, and fair. The round was led by Dorilton Ventures and Molten Ventures, formerly Draper Esprit, with sizable participation from existing investors Generation Ventures and IQ Capital. GP Bullhound and others also joined the round, which was oversubscribed. As part of the transaction, Daniel Freeman of Dorilton Ventures has joined causaLens’s board of directors … o9 Solutions, a leading enterprise AI software platform provider for transforming planning and decision-making speed and quality in companies across industry verticals, announced that it has received equity investments totaling $295 million from General Atlantic, including BeyondNetZero, its climate investing venture, Generation Investment Management, a pure-play sustainability investment manager, and existing investor KKR. This significant investment will help o9 build on its momentum and accelerate growth for its AI-powered Integrated Business Planning platform it calls the “Digital Brain” across industry verticals and markets. It will also help o9 drive continued innovation in R&D, industry knowledge models and partner ecosystem development that will help companies implement o9’s game-changing platform faster and realize greater value … TickSmith announced an investment of $20M Series A Funding to further market their game-changing data selling platform. Unlike any other solution on the market right now, TickSmith’s Data Web Store is a B2B SaaS platform that enables an e-commerce data shopping experience by providing all the tools necessary to prepare, manage, package and monetize data … Firebolt, the cloud data warehouse for builders of next-gen analytics experiences, announced a $100 million Series C funding round, reaching a $1.4B valuation just 12 months after emerging from stealth mode. This latest round of funding brings its total investment to $269 million.The funding round was heavily oversubscribed and was finalized in record time. Firebolt selected Alkeon Capital to lead the round due to their vast experience in the data space and their exceptional track record in partnering with hyper growth companies. Other participants in the round included Sozo Ventures, Glynn Capital, and existing investors Zeev Ventures, Angular Ventures, Dawn Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, K5 Global and TLV Partners … Slim.AI, the Boston-based startup focused on optimizing and securing cloud-native applications, announced that it has raised a $31 million series A round co-led by New York-based global venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners as well as StepStone Group, with participation by boldstart Ventures, Decibel Partners, FXP, Knollwood and TechAviv Founder Partners … Diffblue, creators of the AI-for-code solution that automates writing Java unit tests, announced the close of a funding round led by IP Group Plc with participation from Oxford University, Oxford Technology Investment Fund (OTIF) and private investors. To date, Diffblue has raised more than $32 million in venture funding … MinIO Inc., creators of the MinIO multi-cloud object storage suite, announced that it has raised $103 million in Series B funding at a $1 billion valuation. The investment was led by Intel Capital with participation from new investor SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and existing investors Dell Technologies Capital, General Catalyst and Nexus Venture Partners. Today’s financing brings MinIO’s total funding raised to $126 million … Pixis (formerly known as Pyxis One), a leading provider of contextual codeless AI infrastructure for complete marketing optimization, announced it has secured US $100M in Series C funding. Pixis will leverage the fresh funds to help the company rapidly scale its AI platforms and plugins, as well as accelerate expansions across North America, Europe, and APAC. The Series C round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, with participation from new investor General Atlantic, a leading global growth equity firm. Existing investors Celesta Capital, Premji Invest, and Chiratae Ventures also participated in the round. With the close of its US $17M Series B round just four months prior, Pixis has raised a total of US $124M to date since its founding in 2018 … Proton.ai, a leading AI-powered growth platform for wholesale distributors, announced that it closed $20M in Series A funding led by Felicis Ventures. Proton.ai helps distributors compete in the increasingly digital world with an AI-powered sales enablement solution created for the unique dynamics of B2B distributors … Capacity, the AI-powered support automation platform, announced an additional $27 million in Series C financing, closing out the round at more than $38 million. These funds will be allocated to support new team members, enhance product capabilities and optimize Capacity’s robust support automation platform. To date, Capacity has raised over $62 million … Sync Computing, a deep tech, distributed cloud infrastructure company, came out of stealth mode, revealing its initial products, customer traction, and $6.1 million funding. Moore Strategic Ventures and National Grid Partners led the round, joining existing investor The Engine. Alongside active pilots with both public and private enterprise customers in SaaS, finance, and data sectors, the company recently was awarded a $1M contract from the Department of Defense for large, distributed workload optimization. Sync Computing is using the new capital to advance its leadership in the modern data infrastructure space and support further development of its accelerated data infrastructure engine and solution lines … Forwrd, a leading provider of automated predictive analytics aimed at guiding business decision making, announced that the company secured $3.5M in seed funding to transform non-technical frontline employees into data driven decision makers. The funding round was led by Angular Ventures along with various angel investors to increase their R&D team and kick-start their go-to-market … GWI, a leading audience insights company, announced it has raised over $180 million in Series B funding, valuing the company at over $850 million. Financing was led by Permira’s growth fund. Founded in 2009 by CEO, Tom Smith, GWI has become the leading global market research and audience insights software platform. Receiving $40 million Series A funding from the New York-based growth fund Stripes in 2018, GWI has since tripled recurring revenue, reaching nearly 400 employees globally … DataOps.live, a software company dedicated to helping enterprise companies build and lifecycle manage data applications and data products using Snowflake, the Data Cloud company, announced USD $10.3 million in Seed funding. The round was led by Anthos Capital and supported by Snowflake Ventures … Pecan AI, a leader in AI-based predictive analytics for BI analysts and business users, announced it has raised $66 million in a Series C round led by New York-based global private equity and venture capital firm Insight Partners, with participation from GV (formerly Google Ventures) and existing investors S-Capital, GGV Capital, Dell Technologies Capital, Mindset Ventures, and Vintage Investment Partners. In the last 12 months alone, Pecan has raised over $100 million. The funding will be used to scale Pecan’s global footprint and accelerate research and development of the industry’s only low-code predictive modeling and data science platform.

In new IPO news we heard … MariaDB Corporation Ab, a fast growing and popular open source database software company, announced its intention to become a publicly listed company on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in partnership with NYSE-listed Angel Pond Holdings Corporation (“Angel Pond”) (POND). This transaction implies a pro forma MariaDB enterprise value of approximately $672 million. Angel Pond was co-founded by Theodore T. Wang, a former partner at Goldman Sachs, and Shihuang “Simon” Xie, a co-founder of Alibaba. The transaction provides the shareholders of Angel Pond with the opportunity to participate in the growth of a premier database software company at the nexus of open source software and cloud. Upon closing of the transaction, the combined company will be named MariaDB plc and led by MariaDB’s CEO Michael Howard.

We also learned of new M&A activity starting with … Torch.AI, the leader in artificial intelligence (AI) powered ultra-high speed data processing—making data easier to use for humans and machines, announced today the acquisition of B23, a Virginia based data-extraction software company. Founded in 2014, B23 has grown to become the market leader in Maritime Autonomy and related AI applications, including sourcing and aggregating diverse mission data, such as geolocation, online analytics, and financial instrumentation. The combination of B23’s experience in applying machine learning to real-world problems, and Torch.AI’s flagship software platform, Nexus, will enable B23’s client base to rapidly enhance their data processing power and speed … Jumio, a leading provider of AI-powered end-to-end identity orchestration, eKYC and AML solutions, announced the completion of its acquisition of 4Stop, a leading data marketplace and orchestration hub for KYB, KYC, compliance and fraud prevention. 4Stop’s hub integrates with multiple vendors giving access to more than 650 data sources across 195 countries. This technology, when combined with Jumio’s award-winning solutions, will enable organizations to manage the entire customer identity lifecycle within a single, unified platform and will allow for rapid configuration and integration through one easy and intuitive API layer. They’ll also have an integrated and comprehensive view of their entire system, ensuring superior monitoring and risk management … Newgen Software, a leading provider of a unified digital transformation platform, announced that it is acquiring India-based Number Theory, an AI/ML (artificial intelligence and machine learning) data science platform company, subject to the completion of conditions as stated in the approved Share Purchase Agreement. Number Theory’s platform, AI Studio, brings intuitive AI/ML to every enterprise, while unifying the entire lifecycle of data engineering, from data preparation to model development and monitoring. It empowers both citizen and expert data scientists to work faster and more efficiently, thereby helping in accomplishing key machine learning tasks in just hours or days, not months. This acquisition will further strengthen Newgen’s low code digital transformation platform, NewgenONE, with AI/ML modeling and data analytics capabilities … Precisely, a leader in data integrity software, announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire PlaceIQ, a leading data and technology provider that powers marketing and business decisions with location-based consumer insights. Financial terms were not disclosed.The acquisition of New York-based PlaceIQ expands the Precisely data integrity portfolio to include mobile location data while also providing customers with broader access to enterprise-wide data management solutions, including data governance, data enrichment and additional location data attributes … LandScan has announced the acquisition of three companies as part of its geospatial software relaunch. The acquisitions include: MicroImages, one of the longest-standing geospatial software companies in the global market utilized in 120 countries and translated into 24 languages; Syncarto, a cloud-native mapping platform; and Paris Geospatial, led by industry pioneer and inventor Dr. Jack Paris. Together, these acquired companies will relaunch as Datum Geospatial™ by LandScan, offering both desktop and cloud-based geospatial software solutions … Rackspace Technology® (NASDAQ: RXT), a leading end-to-end, multicloud technology solutions company, announced that it has agreed to acquire Just Analytics, a leading provider of cloud-based data, analytics, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) services based in the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region … Ness, a full-lifecycle digital services transformation company, announced its acquisition of Niyuj, a leading provider of software product engineering services specializing in digital infrastructure management including cutting edge software products in Networking, Security, Storage and Cloud Solutions … Idera, Inc., parent company of global B2B software productivity brands, announced the acquisition of Yellowfin International Pty Ltd, a next-generation embedded data analytics and business intelligence platform for augmented business users and developers. Yellowfin will join Idera’s Developer Tools business, which includes apilayer, Embarcadero, Filestack, Froala, FusionCharts, LANSA, Sencha, UltraEdit, and Whole Tomato.

In the people movement category we heard … DDN®, a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and multi-cloud data management solutions, announced that brand marketing and strategic communications leader, Meredyth Jensen, has joined the executive team as its new chief marketing officer (CMO). Jensen comes to DDN following an established career working across a range of industry verticals with global brands, high-growth private and public companies, and government agencies … Acceldata, the multidimensional Data Observability Cloud, announced that Sanjay Poonen, a technology executive with more than 25 years of experience leading enterprise software companies, such as VMWare, SAP, and Informatica, has joined the company as an advisor and angel investor … Aptima, Inc., announced the appointment of Sterling Wiggins to Vice President of Transformation. This new position further aligns Aptima’s companywide efforts to proactively respond to a host of disruptions that organizations are facing unlike ever before … Conversica, Inc., a leader in Conversational AI solutions for enterprise revenue teams, announced the hiring of growth marketing and technology expert David Greenberg as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Greenberg brings more than 20 years of leadership experience, most recently serving as CMO of marketing automation platform, Act-On … Ocient, a leading hyperscale data solutions company serving organizations that derive value from analyzing trillions of data records in interactive time, announced the appointment of highly-respected and seasoned data analytics veteran Ian Drury to the role of chief technology officer (CTO). Additionally, Ocient announced that it doubled its workforce in the past 12 months in order to take advantage of significant growth and customer demand. Ocient’s new CTO, Ian Drury, brings more than two decades of experience in the database, data analytics and technology industries and in managing engineering teams at scale … Domo (Nasdaq: DOMO) announced that Mohammed Aaser has joined the company as Chief Data Officer. He brings more than 15 years of experience to the role, most recently as Chief Data Officer at McKinsey and Company, where he championed the strategic use of data across thousands of client initiatives in all industries. As Chief Data Officer, Aaser will support customers by helping them create modern data experiences that automate and accelerate key business processes and optimize strategic outcomes. He will also work closely with the company’s data and technology partners to extend the power of Domo’s robust ecosystem of integrations, which includes more than 1,000 pre-built connectors … GE (NYSE: GE) announced the appointment of Scott Reese as Chief Executive Officer of GE Digital effective February 22, 2022. Reese succeeds Patrick Byrne who will continue at GE as Chief Executive Officer for the onshore wind business at GE Renewable Energy. Reese joins GE from Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK) where he is executive vice president, product development and manufacturing solutions. He joined Autodesk in 2003 with the acquisition of VIA Development Corporation and has spent nearly two decades leading product and go-to-market initiatives across a wide range of industries, while driving aggressive growth with next-generation solutions for manufacturing. Reese also established Autodesk’s cloud platform, products, operations, and cyber security practices … Lucidworks, the provider of next-generation AI-powered search applications and pioneer of the Connected Experience Cloud, announced the appointments of Diane Honda and Adam Famularo to the board of directors. Honda is the Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel, and Secretary at Barracuda Networks, a leading provider for cloud-enabled security solutions. Famularo is the CEO of WorkFusion, a leading provider of robotic process automation (RPA) and intelligent automation solutions. The two executives bring decades of experiences as transformational and visionary leaders and will help shape Lucidworks’ strategy and growth moving forward … Torch.AI, the leader in artificial intelligence (AI) powered ultra-high speed data processing—making data easier to use for humans and machines, announced that distinguished former Assistant Secretary of the Navy, James “Hondo” Geurts, has joined the Torch.AI Board of Advisors … TigerGraph, provider of a leading graph analytics platform, announced the appointment of industry veteran Harry Powell as Head of Industry Solutions to build and lead the Industry Solutions team. The team will comprise both industry subject-matter experts and senior analytics professionals focused on key business drivers impacting forward-thinking companies as they operate in a digital and connected world … Datadobi, a leader in unstructured data management software, announced the appointment of Matthias Nijs as its new Vice President of EMEA Sales to continue accelerating its momentum in the region. A key member of the Datadobi EMEA team for the last seven years, Nijs most recently served as a territory manager and will lead the regional sales team with a remit to continue to expand Datadobi across EMEA, enhance the company’s partner program, and work closely with customers to optimize their unstructured data storage environments. Nijs will report to Chief Revenue Officer Michael Jack … Coalesce, the data transformation company, announced the expansion of its leadership team with the hiring of Vincent Calcagnile, Frederik Naessens and Mark Van Der Heijden to lead sales, technical architecture and engineering respectively for the EMEA region. Calcagnile, Naessens, and Van Der Heijden are the founding team of DataToko, a data automation and DataOps focused startup, and bring more than 50 years of combined experience successfully growing and scaling platforms, and attracting customers … AtScale, a leading provider of semantic layer solutions for modern business intelligence and data science teams, announced the appointment of Grant Hornung to the role of vice president of global sales. Grant joins the AtScale executive team to lead the company’s global sales organization for AtScale’s semantic layer solutions for enterprise AI and business intelligence … Alluxio, the developer of the open source data orchestration platform for data driven workloads such as large-scale analytics and AI/ML, announced the appointment of Danica Wang, SVP of Global Legal and Head of China Operations; Kiran Mehta, VP of Engineering; and Eric Sun, VP of Business Development, China. All three will be reporting to Alluxio Founder and CEO, Haoyuan (HY) Li … Alteryx, Inc. (NYSE: AYX), announced leadership changes that bolster its go-to-market (GTM) efforts and further cement SaaS expertise across the C-suite. Effective today, Paula Hansen has been promoted to President and Chief Revenue Officer and will lead the sales, marketing and customer success and services organizations at Alteryx. Alteryx has also named cloud marketing industry veteran, Keith Pearce, as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). 

In the new partnerships, alignments and collaborations department we learned … Narrative, the data commerce platform, announced a partnership with AWIS Weather Services and the launch of the AWIS Weather Services Data Shop. The online store allows businesses to easily find and purchase weather and climate-related datasets via a familiar e-commerce workflow. The datasets enable companies to analyze historical weather and climate-related data for investment forecasting, energy load planning, supply chain management, business intelligence applications, freight distribution needs, and all other aspects of business affected by the weather … DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ:DISH) is leveraging Confluent, Inc. (NASDAQ:CFLT) for  cloud-native data streaming with Apache Kafka, to facilitate real-time analytics applications on DISH’s new smart 5G network. DISH’s network will transform how people and enterprises leverage data, lowering friction to connect systems and deliver smarter solutions.By harnessing data in motion with Confluent, DISH is creating a central network nervous system based on Kafka that connects all its customers, operations and network systems with data. With Confluent, DISH can deploy a cloud-native data architecture that harnesses and exposes data in a scalable and elastic manner, without the headaches of having to manually manage its infrastructure … Expert.ai (EXAI:IM), a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) for language understanding, and RSA, one of the world’s longest standing general insurers, have partnered on a key project to enhance claims management.Under this new agreement, RSA will increase the reach of intelligent document processing to a broader tranche of pet insurance claims. It will also support decision making, improving the customer journey through quicker cycle times – made possible by the precision that only advanced AI-based natural language capabilities can offer … Diveplane, the company keeping the humanity in artificial intelligence (AI), and Iron Bow Healthcare Solutions, an information technology solutions provider to government and health systems, announced a new partnership with the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS). This groundbreaking alliance will enable the department to explore the potential for innovation that a fully understandable, transparent AI platform can provide in transforming patient care … Cloudian® announced the integration of its HyperStore® object storage with the WEKA Data Platform for AI, providing high-performance, exabyte-scalable private cloud storage for processing iterative analytical workloads. The combined solution unifies and simplifies the data pipeline for performance-intensive workloads and accelerated DataOps, all easily managed under a single namespace. In addition, the new solution reduces the storage TCO associated with data analytics by a third, compared to traditional storage systems … Protegrity, a global leader in data security, announced it has partnered with Google Cloud to support the upcoming release of BigQuery remote functions. First announced at Google Cloud Next ‘21 in October, BigQuery remote functions offer Google Cloud customers the ability to extend BigQuery with their own external code. With support for remote functions, Protegrity adds an additional layer of data protection, while enabling customers to deliver faster, more robust analysis through Google Cloud BigQuery. Protegrity’s partnership with Google Cloud lays a strong foundation to deliver de-identified datasets across many Google Cloud services. In addition to its support for Google Cloud remote functions, Protegrity also announced the availability of the Cloud API forGoogle Cloud, a serverless API that can be used to integrate data protection into cloud services and ETL workflows, as well as the Snowflake Protector onGoogle Cloud … Clinicians rely on accurate information in electronic health record (EHR) systems so that medication, allergy, and immunization data can trigger automatic safety alerts during prescribing and transitions of patient care. But that data can be compromised when moving it from one system to another because of varying terminology, disparities in formulary service vendors, imperfect interoperability standards, and inconsistent use of national drug codes. Now, a new partnership by InfoWerks Data Services, a leading provider of healthcare data services, and health technology pioneer DrFirst is using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to automate the process of sharing structured data between different systems.

We also learned of new customer wins … The Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Massey Cancer Center is working with SAS® Health to use health analytics to power vital research into higher cancer and mortality rates among low-income and vulnerable populations. Massey’s breakthrough approach to cancer research includes engaging with the community to find new data, which makes disadvantaged populations a partner in confronting the cancer disparities that affect them. This creates a data challenge that analytics leader SAS is well-equipped to handle … Informatica (NYSE: INFA), an enterprise cloud data management leader, announced that Hackensack Meridian Health, a leading nonprofit healthcare organization comprised of 17 hospitals in New Jersey, has chosen Informatica’s Data integration, Quality and Management solutions to consolidate its silos of patient data into a centralized repository. It has also deployed Informatica’s Enterprise Data Catalog and Axon Data Governance to enable easy data discovery and governance … Iterative, the MLOps company dedicated to streamlining the workflow of data scientists and machine learning (ML) engineers, announced Continuum Industries, which provides AI tools for engineering professionals to rapidly design linear infrastructure projects, has chosen Iterative-backed open source projects DVC and CML to optimize evolutionary computing optimization workflows and reduce time to market. Continuum Industries works with large amounts of geospatial data with evolutionary computing algorithms to optimize the design of infrastructure like railways and roads. While Continuum Industries do not use machine learning algorithms, they face a number of the same problems that MLOps aims to resolve. They were looking for a way to have that data sync with the code and be versioned together. After considering a custom build using basic ML tools offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Continuum chose Iterative tools for their Optioneer product because they allowed it the freedom to freely integrate various ML tools from other vendors into their workflows (like GitHub Actions for CI/CD in training their models), and begin working on test cases immediately … 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 that Zoom Video Communications, Inc. will purchase AppTek’s language packages as part of its journey to improve the state-of-the-art for live automatic transcriptions and translations in Zoom’s products, taking a step toward one day enabling users to communicate around the world regardless of the language they speak … Yewno, a leading global provider of artificial intelligence solutions, announced that the University of Edinburgh has adopted their Yewno Discover platform. Edinburgh is the first university in Scotland to offer Yewno Discover through their university library … Qlik® announced that Sephora, the world leader in prestigious beauty retailing, is using Qlik Sense® to transform its Human Resources (HR) management system. Sephora has deployed SAP’s SuccessFactors as its global Human Resources Information System (HRIS) for all countries and employees. It will be enriched with solutions like Qlik to manage local employee needs, jobs, and recruitment requirements. Qlik will help Sephora’s HR Management team and all other managers navigate the analytics from this data-rich system … Scale AI, the data infrastructure for AI, announced its selection as a government-wide AI partner under a $249 million-ceiling Blanket Purchase Agreement issued by the Department of Defense (DoD) Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC). Through this agreement, Scale’s commercially-proven, market leading technology will be made readily available to all federal agencies to solve their most critical AI challenges and advance operational AI/ML capabilities across the U.S. government … Albertsons Companies (NYSE: ACI) will enhance its fresh offering with Afresh Technologies’ AI-powered predictive ordering and inventory solutions to reduce waste and offer the freshest product for customers. Afresh will help Albertsons Cos.’ optimize fresh forecasting, inventory, ordering, merchandising and operations. Afresh Technologies enables Albertsons Cos. to deploy a state-of-the-art AI technology platform in all its stores to further differentiate its fresh offering to customers while helping to reduce food waste, ultimately reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and saving water.  

Deep Learning Patent Update – provided by Nelson E. (Nick) Brestoff, J.D., M.S. Exec. Manager & Chief Inventor, Intraspexion LLC. The number of “deep learning” patents in 2022 is off to a steady start, with 95 patents as of February 1st. At that pace, e.g., 95 x 12 = 1,140, the total at the end of the year would exceed the total in 2021 (1,104).

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  1. Very useful information, thank for sharing

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