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“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 7/14/2022

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.

Let’s dive right in with this installment of our rumor central round-up with some new funding news … Scale Computing, a market leader in edge computing, virtualization, and hyperconverged solutions, has raised $55 million in funding, led by funds managed by Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital. Scale Computing will use the new funds to expand their leadership position in edge computing, including investments in people, R&D, and restructuring of debt. Scale Computing will continue expanding the capabilities of its edge computing, virtualization, and hyperconverged solutions to meet increased market demand … Deci, the deep learning company harnessing AI to solve the AI efficiency gap, announced it has raised $25 million in a Series B funding round led by global software investor Insight Partners, with participation from existing investors Square Peg, Emerge, Jibe Ventures, and Fort Ross Ventures, as well as new investor ICON. The investment comes just seven months after Deci secured $21 million in Series A funding, also led by Insight Partners, bringing Deci’s total funding to $55.1 million. The funds will be used to expand Deci’s go-to-market activities, as well as further accelerate the company’s R&D efforts … Snowplow, a leader in Data Creation, announced $40 million in Series B funding led by global venture capital firm, NEA, whose prior investments include Databricks, Cloudflare, and DataRobot, and continued support from existing Snowplow investors, Atlantic Bridge, and MMC. To date, funding raised totals $55 million. The new infusion of capital will allow Snowplow to grow its team, accelerate support for an ever-increasing set of data types, and scale internationally … Lightbits®, the software-defined NVMe® data platform for any cloud, announced that it has raised $42 million in growth capital. New investor Atreides Management led the round, alongside J.P. Morgan, Valor Equity Partners, Eyal Ofer’s O.G. Tech, founder and chairman of Pacific Century Group (PCG) Richard Li, existing investors, and others. With this financing, the company has raised more than $100 million since its founding in 2016 … Opaque Systems, the pioneers of collaborative analytics and AI for confidential computing, announced it has raised $22 million in Series A funding, bringing the company’s total financing to $31.6 million. The round was led by Walden Catalyst Partners, with participation from new investors, Storm Ventures and Thomvest Ventures, as well as all existing investors, Intel Capital, Race Capital, The House Fund, and FactoryHQ … Speechmatics, the leading speech recognition technology scaleup, has raised $62m in Series B funding. Led by Susquehanna Growth Equity with participation from existing investors AlbionVC and IQ Capital, the funding will be used to support Speechmatics’ vision to be a world-leading speech platform, understanding every voice with human-level accuracy … dotData, a leading company focused on delivering full-cycle data science automation and operationalization for the enterprise announced that it has raised $31.6 million in Series B funding, bringing the total amount of funding raised to date to $74.6 million. The Series B financing round was led by OTSUKA CORPORATION, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Limited … SingleStore, the cloud-native database built for speed and scale to power data-intensive applications, announced it has raised $116 million in financing led by the growth equity business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management (Goldman Sachs) with new participation from Sanabil Investments. Current investors Dell Technologies Capital, GV, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), IBM ventures and Insight Partners, among others, also participated in the round.   

In M&A news we learned …  IBM announced it has acquired Databand.ai, a leading provider of data observability software that helps organizations fix issues with their data, including errors, pipeline failures and poor quality — before it impacts their bottom-line. Today’s news further strengthens IBM’s software portfolio across data, AI and automation to address the full spectrum of observability and helps businesses ensure that trustworthy data is being put into the right hands of the right users at the right time … SMART Global Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: SGH) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with affiliates of Siris Capital Group, LLC, to acquire Stratus Technologies, a global leader in simplified, protected, and autonomous computing solutions in the data center and at the Edge. Under the terms of the agreement, SGH will pay $225 million in cash at closing and an earn-out payment of up to $50 million, based on the gross profit performance of the Stratus business during the first full 12 fiscal months of Stratus following the closing … Norstella, an organization that helps life sciences companies navigate the complexities of the drug life cycle, and Citeline (formerly Pharma Intelligence)—a leading provider of specialist intelligence, data and software for clinical trials, drug development and regulatory compliance—have announced an agreement to merge the companies … Starburst, the analytics anywhere company, announced the acquisition of Varada, a data lake analytics accelerator. While Starburst’s best-in-class query engine already leads the industry in both performance and cost-efficiency, combining Varada’s proprietary and patented indexing technology sets a new benchmark in data lake analytics, empowering organizations to more quickly and efficiently derive greater insights from their data … Glia, a leading provider of Digital Customer Service, has acquired Finn AI, the premier AI-powered chatbot platform for banks and credit unions. The deal aims to mainstream virtual assistants for financial services companies by making Finn AI’s proven conversational AI solutions an integral part of Glia’s industry-leading Digital Customer Service (DCS) platform … Privitar, a leader in modern data provisioning, announced it has acquired Kormoon, a software platform that helps organizations manage the complexities of data privacy regulations by analyzing data usage, assessing risk, and automating compliance. Kormoon’s powerful technology will be used to extend the functionality of Privitar’s market-leading data privacy and provisioning offerings, adding new capabilities to quickly enable organizations to understand and comply with the rules governing data.

In new partnerships, alignments and collaborations we heard … Tecton, the enterprise feature store company, announced a partnership with Databricks, the Data and AI Company and pioneer of the data lakehouse paradigm, to help organizations build and automate their machine learning (ML) feature pipelines from prototype to production. Tecton is integrated with the Databricks Lakehouse Platform so data teams can use Tecton to build production-ready ML features on Databricks in minutes … Polestar Solutions, a leading player in data analytics and enterprise performance management (EPM), announced a partnership with Alteryx, Inc., the Analytics Automation Company, to further accelerate analytics and data science automation for enterprises. Together, the companies will seamlessly deliver end-to-end unified analytics automation and data science capabilities to knowledge workers across the enterprise. The partnership combines Polestar Solutions’ deep domain expertise and strong analytics delivery capabilities with Alteryx’s end-to-end platform to enable organizations to transform data into breakthrough insights … Cloudian® announced a partnership with Vertica, a Micro Focus (LSE: MCRO; NYSE: MFGP) line of business, providing organizations with a public cloud-like modern data warehousing solution, on-premises, for managing their AI/ML and other analytics workloads securely behind their firewall. Vertica’s separation of compute and storage scaling of its underlying analytical database allows customers to use Cloudian’s HyperStore® native S3-compatible object storage as a single location to store all their data. As a result, users can capitalize on HyperStore’s many benefits, including exabyte-level scalability, military-grade security and cost savings of up to 70% compared to public cloud and traditional storage alternatives … Sonrai Analytics, an emerging Belfast-based innovator in Artificial Intelligence (AI) data discovery, and California-based IV BioHoldings (IVBH), an innovative precision health company focusing in the area of liquid biopsy, today announced a strategic partnership to accelerate early detection of diseases with poor clinical outcomes. The partnership brings Sonrai’s cloud AI technology for discovering, developing, and validating high-value biomarkers to IVBH’s commercial portfolio: LiquidLung, HepGene and Mammogen. The collaboration will streamline the ability to identify, validate and productise novel biomarkers for the effective early detection and subsequent actionable treatment of patients with progressive disease … Hailo, a leading edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) chipmaker, announced its collaboration with Renesas, a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, to deliver a powerful and energy-efficient processing solution enabling advanced driver-assistance (ADAS) functions and automated driving (AD) systems in motor vehicles. The joint Hailo-Renesas solution will make sophisticated ADAS technology more accessible in cars of all types. The combination of Hailo-8 processors, designed for heavy Neural Network (NN) acceleration, with the powerful Renesas R-Car V3H & R-Car V4H systems-on-chip (SoCs), powers robust, scalable, efficient, and cost-effective ADAS solutions for zonal and centralized vehicular ECUs. The solutions are scalable for a wide range of ADAS functions from ADAS L2+ up to L4 AD functions requiring very high tera-operations per second (TOPS), while delivering best-in-class TOPS/W … Voltron Data, the company accelerating standards in data analytics and the largest corporate contributor to Apache Arrow, and DataStax, the real-time data company, announced a partnership to help organizations accelerate the impact of intelligence from real-time applications. As a result of the partnership, the companies will strengthen the interoperability between Arrow and DataStax’s Astra DB, Astra Streaming and DataStax Enterprise products to improve the quality of real-time data intelligence as well as reduce the time to insights … APARAVI® announced a new partnership with Backblaze, a leading independent cloud storage provider. The partnership   brings together Aparavi Data Intelligence and Automation Platform and Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage to provide cost-effective data management, storage, and access, providing elite protection and leverage for unstructured data. 

In the people movement category we have … Enterprise tech company, Affinity, the relationship intelligence and data analytics platform for VC, PE, and IB, announces the appointments of two key executives: Dustin Deno as Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) and Rich Bessel as Vice President of Design. Deno brings over 15 years of experience in SaaS, including Salesforce and Showpad. While at Showpad, Deno helped grow global sales teams after the company secured its Series D funding. Bessel’s experience includes a key role at Robinhood, where he led an award-winning corporate rebrand and helped the company reach 11.7m active monthly users … Amplitude, a pioneer in digital optimization, will announce the appointment of Thomas Neergaard Hansen, as its first ever president … Dataiku, the platform for Everyday AI, announced the appointment of Bridget Shea as its new Chief Customer Officer. Shea, who has worked closely with the Dataiku leadership team for several years in an advisory role, brings deep data science and analytics expertise and a proven track record of managing large global customer success and sales teams within rapidly scaling software companies … FuriosaAI, the AI accelerator company with a robust and flexible software stack, announced the appointment of Bill Leszinske as Senior Advisor, and Tom Gallivan as Vice President of North American Sales and Business Development. Leszinske and Gallivan will enable the rapidly growing startup to expand its reach into the North American market … Virtana, a leading provider of AI-driven monitoring solutions for hybrid cloud management, has named Amit Rathi Vice President of Engineering. This addition will further Virtana’s commitment to building a strong leadership team and a customer-focused software company. Amit brings a strong software engineering, customer-centric background and 20+ years of experience in Virtana’s specific Information Technology Operations Management (ITOM) domain … Crux Informatics, which provides an end-to-end external data integration and operations solution to scale data delivery and transformation, welcomed Ivan Batanov as its new SVP of Engineering to lead core development activities … TickSmith, a technology leader facilitating data business creation via marketplaces, promoted Nicolas Doyen to Chief Product Officer. Doyen has a proven track record of driving product strategy and ensuring that TickSmith remains at the forefront of data monetization initiatives … CallMiner, a leading provider of conversation intelligence to drive business improvement, announced that Benedetto A. Mielehas joined the company as Chief Revenue Officer (CRO).

We also heard of some new customer wins … VAST Data, the data platform company for the AI-powered world, announced that Ingenuity Studios selected VAST to help deliver next-level realism to a host of long- and short-form works, including feature films, television series, music videos, commercials, and more. Ingenuity Studios tapped VAST Data’s Universal Storage architecture to leapfrog the status quo by deploying a simple data storage platform that allows artists and animators to easily collaborate on projects with ultra-fast performance and low-latency, without the classic flash storage tax … The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded a joint $90 million, five-year agreement to CITI, the software services and product company, and C3 AI (NYSE: AI), the Enterprise AI application software company, through its partnership with Carahsoft. The Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA), called “Solutioning with Holistic Analytics Restructured for the Enterprise (SHARE),” will accelerate enterprise AI deployments across the entire HHS, which includes the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) … Gradient AI, a leading enterprise software provider of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions in the insurance industry announced that Service Lloyds Insurance Company has adopted its solution to better predict risk and improve the pricing accuracy of workers’ compensation policies.

Patents

The U.S Patent Office has awarded Roots Automation a new patent based on their unique, novel human-in-the-loop artificial intelligence technology. This novel human-in-the-loop technology enables Roots Automation’s AI-powered Digital Coworkers to interact with human employees in real-time to raise and manage exceptions such as missing data, poor quality documents or a myriad of other exceptions that commonly occur within automated processes. The ‘bot-to-human’ hand-off is a critical weak-point for traditional automation technology – in which, as a path to completing a process becomes blocked (i.e. an exception occurs), the bot will simply back-log the item for a human to review and process manually. Depending on the complexity of the process and the volume of exceptions, this can range from a day’s work for a process owner to complete to many days, dramatically disrupting an employee’s productivity. Leveraging the human-in-the-loop artificial intelligence, Roots Automation’s Digital Coworkers interact with people via a simple user unified interface that uses Natural Language to ask a series of questions to extract the missing data, then re-process the item automatically.

Deep Learning Patent Update – provided by Nelson E. (Nick) Brestoff, J.D., M.S. Exec. Manager & Chief Inventor, Intraspexion LLC. The x-axis in the bar chart below represents the years starting at 2001 through 2022. The beginning of Q3 started off well, and the number of deep learning patents jumped up to 651. At this rate, the number of new deep learning patents in 2022 may reach 1,300 by year-end.

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